An Elkhart police officer shot and killed a man Friday morning who police say was suspected of shooting and killing a toddler a few minutes earlier. Elkhart police say they responded to a report of a shooting with injuries at 514 West High Street at 10:22 a.m. on Friday.
Reportedly, a male suspect and a female were in a verbal dispute. The male suspect then fired a handgun at the female, and a bullet struck and killed a 1-year-old child. The male suspect then fled in a vehicle.
During a Friday afternoon press conference, Elkhart Police Chief Kris Seymore said that less than five minutes later, an officer saw the suspect’s vehicle near South Seventh Street and Wolf Avenue.
As other officers arrived on scene, a man matching the suspect’s description was observed walking in an alley. Police say officers made contact, but an event unfolded where the suspect was shot and killed by an Elkhart officer.
On Saturday, police identified the officer as Sergeant Mike Davis, a 15-year veteran of the department. They also identified the victim, 1-year-old Danton Munoz of Elkhart, and the suspect, 19-year-old Lonnel Cephas of Elkhart.
Police have not released more details of the encounter, but say there is body camera footage and that Davis was not injured.
“I’d like to extend the Elkhart Police Department’s condolences to the family of this child,” Chief Seymore said. “I’d just ask that everybody keep that family and the officers that were involved in this in their thoughts and prayers.”
Davis has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, and the Elkhart County Homicide Unit is investigating both shootings.
In a statement, Elkhart Mayor Rod Roberson said he is “deeply saddened” over the loss of life in the city.
“We have lost two of our children and my thoughts and prayers are with the families,” Roberson said in the statement. “I am grieving with you and I am hopeful we can get to a space where we put the guns down and care for one another. The investigation will reveal the details soon.”
He also called for a reduction in gun violence.
“As your mayor, I wonder when we’ll realize guns don’t provide the answer,” Roberson said. “Put the guns down and let’s build this city that we all want, together.”
This story has been updated with the names of the officer, suspect and victim.
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