Despite Official Details, Questions Remain in South Bend Shooting

Jun 18, 2019

 

Community members at a vigil in South Bend Monday night are looking for answers following the shooting death of 53-year-old Eric Logan by a police officer early Sunday morning.

(Officials have two conflicting birth dates for Logan. 1964 or 1965.)

Logan, who is black, was shot in the parking lot of Central High Apartments on the corner of Colfax Avenue and Williams Street. He was transported in a police vehicle to a hospital where he died.

The family question details about the official story including why Logan was transported in a police vehicle and not taken in an ambulance.

The officer was identified as Sergeant Ryan O’Neill. He is white. He has been placed on administrative leave.

The South Bend police department recently received funding for body cameras for it’s officers. O’Neill’s body camera was not recording at the time of the incident.

Sergeant Ryan O'Neill
Credit South Bend Police Department

City Common Council Member Oliver Davis said that budgeting for body cameras was to provide more information in situations like these.

“As a city council member that fought to make sure we had the budget to cover body cams. Why in the world, when we had the budget to have that, and we wanted to make sure that all the officers had that, to read that there were no body cameras on?...That’s why we voted for that.”

No other video evidence from a dashboard camera or nearby security cameras has been found.

An investigation by the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit is ongoing.

“We just want to make sure that this is investigated as well as we can do it,” Prosecutor Ken Cotter said.  He added that information will continue to be released.

Officials say O’Neill was responding to a call about someone breaking into cars.

The official timeline of events:
3:23 a.m. call to 911 about someone breaking into cars
3:27 a.m. South Bend law enforcement notified
3:30.12 a.m. O’Neill radios that he is en route
3:30.34 a.m. O’Neill arrives at Central High Apartments
3:33.09 a.m. O’Neil radios that shots have been fired, requests ambulance response
3:33.20 a.m. Other officers arrive
3:35.14 a.m. Officers radio that they are loading Logan into a police vehicle to transport him to the hospital

Cotter said Officer O’Neill told investigators that, upon arriving at the scene, Logan was leaning into a car. O’Neill asked if that was his car. Logan responded that it was. O’Neill noticed Logan was holding a purse and a large knife. Logan raised the knife. O’Neill fired two shots.

St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter at a press conference Monday June, 17, 2019.
Credit Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio

Six cars in the vicinity had been broken into.

Those at a vigil question Monday night are skeptical of the official version of events. Robert Foltz.

“No one really knows the true story yet. And we don’t know if it’s going to be doctored up or if it’s going to be told like it is.”

Family members say Logan had just left his brother’s house and was walking toward his mother’s apartment on Washington Street. They say Logan did not carry a knife and was not a thief, but did have a prior history of drug use.

Council Member Regina Williams-Preston said the community needs to look forward and hold the police department and other officials accountable for what happened. She said they should take steps so this does not happen again.

“We need to get all this information but we have to begin to act. We have to have the courage to say no more. We have to have the courage to say we’re not going to take it, not in this community.”

Shirley Newhill holds a candle at a vigil for her son Eric Logan outside Central High Apartments in South Bend on Monday, June 17, 2019.
Credit Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio

A spokesperson with the family says they have information that tells a different story than the one the St. Joseph County Prosecutor shared. They say they will release it in the next few days.