Driver in Crash Charged with Killing Responding Officer
INDIANA — A driver, upside down and suspended in his overturned vehicle, allegedly “became hysterical” and fatally shot a suburban Indianapolis officer who came to his rescue last week, according to court papers.
Jason Brown, 28, struck Southport, Indiana Police Lt. Aaron Allan 11 times as the officer was partially inside of his vehicle’s rear passenger side, trying to render aid, prosecutors say.
Allan, 38, later died of multiple gunshot wounds at a hospital after the shooting on Thursday, a probable cause affidavit said.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office charged Brown with murder on Tuesday. Brown was also charged with possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor.
It is not known if Brown was legally impaired at the time, or if he had suffered a head injury from the rollover accident.
His initial hearing is scheduled for Thursday. It wasn’t immediately clear if Brown had an attorney.
Witness: Driver ‘became very agitated and belligerent’
Brown’s passenger told police Brown picked him up and began speeding and weaving his 2004 BMW around vehicles after they left a gas station, the affidavit said. Brown struck a curb, drove across the median and hit another curb, flipping the vehicle, which landed upside down on an Indianapolis street.
The passenger, known as H.L. in the affidavit, managed to get out of the vehicle and wait for help.
Around 2:30 p.m., Lt. Allan was dispatched to the crash, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said. A Homecroft police officer also responded.
Allan stuck his head inside the passenger side and spoke with the driver, later identified as Brown. The driver “became hysterical,” said the other responding officer.
That officer said Lt. Allan tried to calm Brown and reassure him that help was on the way.
One witness, a nurse — who saw the BMW go airborne and stopped to help — told police the driver “became very agitated and belligerent and began cursing,” the affidavit said.
A second witness, also a nurse, said from the driver’s side door he saw the suspect “trying to reach for something behind his back and observed a pistol come out,” the affidavit said.
Brown fired as his passenger was talking to police, the affidavit said.
Major C.T. Bowman with the Homecroft Police Department told investigators that he heard 10-12 gunshots.
There was a pause, he said, and he then heard two to three more.
The passenger told authorities Brown had a handgun permit and carries a black semi-automatic 9mm, the affidavit said.
Lt. Allan managed to stumble back a few feet from the BMW before collapsing, the affidavit said. His gun remained holstered.
Two officers at the scene fired at the BMW, hitting Brown, including an off-duty reserve sheriff’s deputy who stopped to help, the affidavit said.
One officer cut Brown’s seat belt and police pulled him from the vehicle. The officer saw a semi-automatic pistol on the BMW’s roof, the affidavit said.
Brown, who was shot in his right cheek, collarbone and left arm and was taken to a local hospital, the affidavit said.
Police Chief: Allan responded ‘with urgency to preserve life’
One round from Brown struck Allan in the heart, police said.
“Lieutenant Allan was a hard worker and today was no different,” Southport Police Chief Thomas Vaughn said Thursday. “He responded to a crash with urgency to preserve life. Tragically, his was lost.”
Allan, who had more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement, joined the Southport department nearly six years ago, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police said.
In a statement, the Southport department said many witnesses expressed support and sympathy for the loss of Allan. “Thank you for making a difficult day a little easier,” a Southport detective said.
Lt. Allan’s wife, Stacy, said her husband “was my rock.”
“He was not only proud to wear the badge, he was a proud father and husband,” she said in a statement. “There is no room in my heart for anger or hate, only peace knowing Aaron died doing what he loved.”
Suspect’s girlfriend in disbelief
A friend of Brown’s, who asked not to be identified, said his apartment was in the opposite direction of his destination that day, CNN affiliate WXIN reported.
“When Jason left his house at 2 p.m. that day to go pick up that passenger, Jason was a wonderful mood. He was a happy mood,” the friend said, WXIN reported.
Brown’s girlfriend, Brittany Powell, who was visiting from Ohio, told the station Brown had gone to run a brief errand before the crash.
“They’re saying there was a cop that was shot and they’re linking Jason to it,” she said.
Powell said she thought, “There’s no way.”
Brown, an Indianapolis tattoo artist, was still recovering from his injuries, WIXN reported.
Slain officer honored at National Night Out
During Southport’s National Night Out celebration on Tuesday, the department remembered Allan. A street was named after him for the day and his name was emblazoned on a patrol car. The bumper said: “In Memory of Lieutenant ‘Teddy Bear’ Allan.”
The festivities drew Allan’s family.
“Your support of Aaron, the Southport Police Department and the city of Indianapolis has been amazing,” Allan’s father, Jim said, according to CNN Affiliate, WXIN.
“The respect given to all officers by the community has been heartfelt, and all of you that know my son, know our loss,” he told the crowd before taking his son’s usual spot in the dunk tank.
Allan’s funeral will be Saturday.