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Man shot, killed by South Bend Police officers at Coquillard Elementary School following standoff

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Justin Hicks
/
IPB News

South Bend Police Department officers shot and killed a man Friday afternoon following a standoff outside of Coquillard Elementary School on the city’s west side.

According to a press release from the St. Joseph County Police Department, which has been asked to investigate the incident along with the Mishawaka Police Department, South Bend officers were dispatched to the school around 11:38 a.m. on Friday after a call from school employees reported a man with a handgun threatening suicide near the baseball fields.

The man was later identified as 51-year-old Dante Kittrell. The release says officers attempted to deescalate the situation and calm Kittrell for about 40 minutes. Body and car camera footage shows Kittrell threatening to shoot multiple times before pointing the handgun at officers at approximately 12:30 p.m.

At that time, members of the SBPD swat team shot Kittrell. He was transported by ambulance to Memorial Hospital, but died a short time later.

A 20-minute video of the incident posted on social media shows officers with guns drawn surrounding Kittrell in a field outside the school. Kittrell is seen pacing back and forth, sometimes waving his arms and appearing to speak with officers.

About 11 and a half minutes into the video, a South Bend police SWAT team vehicle arrives and drives onto the field. Approximately 1 minute later, Kittrell appears to reach for his waist and then raise his arm.

Multiple shots are heard in rapid succession, and Kittrell falls to the ground. Officers then move in, and an ambulance is seen driving onto the field about 1 minute later.

The Sheriff's department says the South Bend officers involved in the shooting have been "fully cooperative," and that all body and car camera footage of the incident has been turned over to investigators. The shooting had a large number of witnesses, and many have not yet been interviewed. The department says the investigation is ongoing, and interviews are expected to continue into next week.

In the press release, Sheriff Bill Redman provided the following statement:

“At this time our investigators are conducting interviews of police officers and witnesses and reviewing all video footage of the incident. We do not know the exact details of the incident and I urge the community to provide our detectives with time to fully investigate all the facts. I also ask the community not to rush into any judgments until the investigation is complete. Our departments will complete this investigation in a very timely manner and provide a thorough and transparent report to the public regarding the findings of our investigation.”

Redman also said his prayers "go out to the Kittrell family, and all the first responders" involved in the incident.

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

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Updated: July 30, 2022 at 9:47 AM EDT
Updated with victim's name.
Jakob Lazzaro comes to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.