Investigation shows FWPD officer ‘justified’ in fatally shooting suspect

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 12:21 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - The Office of the Allen County Prosecuting Attorney says they have completed their review of the investigation into the November shooting of a suspect by a Fort Wayne Police Department (FWPD) officer.

On Nov. 2, 2022, police say they were called to the 400 block of Poplar Street, in the Hoagland Masterson neighborhood, after they say a man pulled a gun on a woman.

Police say they later found the suspect nearby, saying he refused police commands and then showed a gun, so FWPD Officer Andrew Fry shot him. The man was taken to an area hospital where he was later pronounced dead. He has been identified as 18-year-old Wyatt Beckler.

18-year-old Wyatt Beckler
18-year-old Wyatt Beckler(Provided)

21Alive sat down with Beckler’s mother on Nov. 3, who said her son is the one who called 911 that day because he was having a mental health crisis. She claims he did not have a gun.

A witness of the shooting told 21Alive that he saw Beckler refuse police commands to stop walking and at one point put his hands behind his back before being shot.

21Alive reached out to FWPD following the incident and the woman’s claims that her son was unarmed, and they said, “More information will be forth coming as the facts come out.”

On Friday, the prosecutor’s office released the following statement, saying the officer “reasonably believed” force was necessary in the shooting:

Friday afternoon, FWPD released what they call a “Critical Incident Video Brief” of the altercation. 21Alive management reviewed the video and has decided to include it below, unedited.

The video shows Beckler calling 911 to report that “a man in a blue hoodie pulled a gun” on him. Police say an officer responding to the call spotted a man matching that description. We now know the man he spotted was Beckler. Police say Beckler refused the officer’s commands.

Police say Beckler was reaching into his front right pocket before the officer pulled the trigger. In the video, police also showed a picture of a knife they say they found on Beckler after the incident. They also presented evidence that Beckler had been searching for videos about “suicide by cop” before he called 911.

We want to warn you the video contains graphic language and content, including video of a man being shot. Viewer discretion is strongly advised. Once you hit play, you will see a countdown for 60 seconds.

If you or someone you know is in distress, help is out there. Anyone can call the 24/7 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline for confidential emotional support. Details here.

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