WASHINGTON COUNTY — The Washington County Prosecutor has determined that an officer who fatally shot a man in Salem earlier this month was justified in using lethal force.
Prosecutor Dustin Houchin's report outlines the facts and findings of the investigation, applicable laws, and the use-of-force standards relevant to the case, according to a news release from the Indiana State Police.
The report shows that Chief Joey Wheeler, a 20-year veteran of the Salem Police Department, fired his department-issued weapon, striking and killing 53-year-old Mark Naugle of Scottsburg.
The prosecutor stated ISP completed a thorough and independent investigation and that he finds Wheeler "acted in accordance [with his] training and in compliance with Salem Police Department standard operating procedures using deadly force in carrying out his duties as a sworn law enforcement officer".
The report goes on to say that Wheeler's actions were "reasonable given the totality of the circumstances" and that the case is closed with no charges to be filed.
Salem police were dispatched to the area of the Washington County Fairgrounds around 2 p.m. July 3 in response to a suspicious person call involving a male subject. Police located the subject, later identified as Naugle, standing in the creek bordering the property. During the encounter, Wheeler fired his weapon, striking and killing the Naugle.