A police officer fatally shot a man Saturday during a traffic stop in Portage, Indiana, after the suspect rammed into the officer’s vehicle and “tried to run him over,” the department’s police chief says.
Officer Grant Crizer stopped a blue 2004 Jeep Liberty about 1:47 a.m. for expired registration, police said. The vehicle pulled into a driveway in the 5200 block of Royal Avenue, according to police. The vehcile was driven by William D. Spates, 39, whos had bonded out of jail about three hours earlier, according to police.
“At some point during the encounter the suspect who has previously been identified as William D. Spates (age 39) put his vehicle into reverse and rammed our officer’s fully marked squad car,” Portage police Chief Troy Williams said Monday in a news release. “Officer Crizer radioed that shots had been fired, he needed another unit and that the suspect tried to run him over. Additionally, Officer Crizer requested medics and then moments later requested they step it up.”
Witnesses to the shooting heard an officer yelling commands to the driver, a revving engine and then six to seven gunshots, according to the Porter County Sheriff's Department, which is investigating the shooting.
"Another officer arrived on scene helping to pull the subject from the vehicle and immediately began rendering aid with his tactical first-aid kit," the sheriff's department said in a Facebook post.
Medics arrived on the scene shortly after but Spates was pronounced dead, Williams said.
Spates’ driver’s license was “suspended-prior with 12 active suspensions,” according to Williams. He said police had previously responded to Spates’ home on April 19 for a disturbance, after which Spates was charged with strangulation, domestic batter and battery. Spates was held in Porter county Jail and issued a 10-day no contact order and bonded out April 21 about 10:29 p.m.
The Times of Northwest Indiana reports Spates’ home was just around the corner from where he was shot. A Taser was reportedly used on Spates and it was unclear if he was armed or not, the paper reported, citing police.
A booking photo of Spates was used by authorities to identify him after he was shot, the sheriff's office said.
Crizer, 34, was hired at the Portage Police Department in August of 2014 after working at the Lake Station Police Department since January 2008, Williams said. Crizer has had no disciplinary incidents with Portage police and serves on the department’s SWAT team.
"Officer Crizer also received the department’s Exceptional Service Award for his part in the apprehension without incident of an intoxicated driver on August 31, 2015 in which the suspect pointed his hand in the shape of gun at Officer Crizer and another officer and yelled, 'Gun,'" Williams said.
Crizer was placed on paid administrative leave which is standard procedure after an officer-involved shooting, Williams said.
The Porter County Coroner conducted an autopsy on Spates listing the cause of death as multiple gunshot wounds. A toxicology report was pending.
Detectives from the Porter County Sheriff’s Department and the Indiana State Police were investigating the shooting.