Hammond, Indiana - Video has been released showing an Indiana officer tackling a homicide suspect after a pursuit.
The incident happened on Thursday and started when Donnell Howard and Jessica Pichon were caught stealing beer from a store in East Chicago. An officer went to confront Pichon and she jumped into a parked car where Howard was waiting behind the wheel. As the car quickly backed out, Howard almost crushed the officer between his car and another vehicle.
The vehicle fled into Hammond where officers picked up the pursuit. The suspect vehicle then ran a red light, slamming into a Chevrolet Equinox and killing 13-year-old passenger Julianna Chambers. The 57-year-old driver of the Equinox is in critical condition.
After killing the girl, Donnell Howard then fled from the vehicle until he was chased down and tackled by an officer. The takedown was filmed and you can see it below:
Both Donnell Howard and Jessica Pichon sustained minor injures and were taken into custody.
The loss of 13-year-old Julianna Chambers is weighing heavily on the community, and many in the community have decided that the police at to blame.
ABC7 reports that Mayor Tom McDermott said while shaking his head, "If you're going to have a high speed chase it should be over some felony, or the public's in danger. A case of beer?"
Howard's mother joined in blaming the police, "I want my son to pay whatever price he has to pay for what he did, but that could have been avoided. Why did you chase him?"
Mayor McDermott has ordered an investigation into the police department for their role in pursuing Donnell Howard.
Nationwide, it's becoming common for police departments to adopt policies which prohibit officers from pursuing suspects for anything short of the most heinous violent crimes. The thinking is, that if a suspect kills people while fleeing from the police, then it's the fault of police officers for chasing them. People don't sue the police department when suspects escape, but they sue when people die. Of course, these policies only encourage people to flee from the police, because the criminals don't expect to be chased.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Julianna Chambers.
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