Prosecuting Attorney Determines June 9, 2023, Officer-Involved Shooting Legally Justified
The Indiana State Police conducted an investigation regarding the June 9, 2023, officer-involved shooting by the Elwood Police Department. That investigation has been submitted to the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office for review and a legal determination of the use of deadly force.
Statement of the Facts
Just before 3:00 p.m. on June 9, 2023, officers of the Elwood Police Department responded to a report of a domestic battery that occurred in the 1300 block of South L Street in Elwood, Indiana. When officers arrived, they learned that the suspect, Dakota McCreary, 26, of Noblesville, Indiana, fled into a nearby wooded area. Officers established a perimeter with the assistance of several local agencies and began a search for McCreary. A citizen reported seeing McCreary in the 1200 block of South J Street and several officers responded to the area and located him.
Officer Keegan Russell of the Elwood Police Department was one of the first three officers to locate McCreary. Officers observed McCreary holding what appeared to be a firearm. A photograph is included below:
Officer Russell radioed dispatch that the subject was “pointing something in his hand.” Officer Russell then returned to the cover of his police commission and aimed his department-issued rifle at McCreary. Officer Russell gave eight separate verbal commands for McCreary to “drop it!” and “put it down!” McCreary responded with “no!” and other expletives and yelled that officers would have to shoot him because he was “not going back to prison.” McCreary continued advancing on the officers’ position while pointing what reasonably appeared to be a firearm at the officers. Officer Russell then fired two rounds, striking McCreary at least one time, and proceeded with additional verbal commands for McCreary to drop the weapon. This incident was partially captured by several different body-worn cameras.
After the scene was safe, officers immediately began providing emergency medical aid to McCreary and he was transported to the hospital. Once officers collected the apparent firearm as evidence, they discovered that the device was a lighter intended to appear as if it were a firearm.
Statement of the Law
Indiana Code section 35-41-3-2(c) provides “a person is justified in using reasonable force against any other person
to protect the person or a third person from what the person reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful
force” and the person is “justified in using deadly force” and “don’t not have a duty to retreat” if the person reasonably
believes that force is necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to the person or a third person or the commission of
a forcible felony.” Furthermore, “No person, employer, or estate of a person in this state shall be placed in legal
jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting the person or a third person by reasonable means necessary.” Id.
In the words of the Supreme Court of the United States, “the calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance for
the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments in circumstances that are tense, uncertain,
and rapidly evolving…” Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396 (1989).
Officer Russell was confronted by a fleeing felon who appeared to be armed with a deadly weapon and pointed that
weapon at law enforcement. Officer Russell gave eight separate verbal commands for McCreary to drop the weapon
and he refused to comply with the officer’s lawful orders and continued advancing at officers while pointing the
weapon. Under any reasonable application of the law to these facts, Officer Russell’s use of deadly force was justified
under the law as self-defense and the defense of others.
On June 12, 2023, Dakota McCreary was charged with Burglary, a Level 4 felony, Criminal Confinement, a Level 4
felony, Domestic Battery Resulting in Moderate Bodily Injury, a Level 6 felony, and Theft, a Class A misdemeanor,
relating to the incident which prompted the search.
It is important to remember that any allegation of a crime, an arrest, and/or the filing of a criminal charge is simply
an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. All suspects are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond
a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Original Release 6/10/2023
(Elwood, IN) on 06/09/2023, at 6:46 p.m., Indiana State Police Pendleton District Detectives were requested by Elwood Police Chief, Jason Brizendine, to investigate an officer involved shooting that occurred in Elwood. Just before 3 p.m., Elwood officers responded to an alleged domestic battery that occurred between the 1300 and 1400 block of South L Street in Elwood. When officers arrived, they learned the suspect, Dakota McCreary, 26, of Noblesville, Indiana, fled into a nearby wooded area. Officers established a perimeter with the assistance of local agencies and attempted to locate McCreary. At approximately 6:30 p.m., an uninvolved citizen reported seeing McCreary near the 1200 block of South J Street. Officers responded to that area and located him.
Preliminary investigations determined when officers encountered McCreary, he was holding what officers believed to be a firearm. Officers gave multiple verbal commands for McCreary to drop the firearm. McCreary disregarded officers verbal warnings and pointed the firearm at officers. Patrolman Keegan Russell of the Elwood Police Department fired his department issued rifle at least twice, striking McCreary at least once. Patrolman Russell is a one year veteran and was training another officer. Neither officers received any injuries during the incident and were both officers were wearing body worn cameras.
After officers established the scene was safe, they immediately began to provide medical aid to McCreary. McCreary was transported by ambulance to Ascension St. Vincent Mercy in Elwood and later flown to Ascension St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. McCreary's condition is unknown at this time.
The information in this release is preliminary, this investigation is ongoing and there is no further information to release.
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Story generated from an Indiana State Police Press Release