In less than a minute, a veteran South Bend, Indiana, police officer responded to a 911 call for a possible carjacker, killed a 54-year-old man, authorities said; causing former Mayor Pete Buttigieg to temporarily leave the presidential campaign trial.
After an eight-month investigation by an appointed prosecution team, no charges will be filed against Sergeant Ryan O'Neill.
"There is no disagreement that Sgt. Ryan O'Neill shot and killed Eric Logan," said Ripley County Prosecutor Eric Hertel at a press conference on Friday morning.
Logan's killing gained national attention when former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who was a candidate in the 2020 Democratic presidential race and campaigning around the country, flew back to South Bend and instructed the town's police chief to change their body worn camera policy.
Hertel was assigned to investigate the June 16, 2019 killing of Logan, in order to have a completely independent investigation.
The 25-page investigation report by the independent prosecutor explained that since O'Neill claimed "both a personal right to self-defense and the legal authority to use deadly force in the performance of his official duties...there is no reasonable likelihood that any potential homicide charged could be substantiated at trial," therefore, criminal prosecution is "not possible."
At 3:30 in the morning, O'Neill was the first officer on the scene for a report of cars getting broken into in the parking lot of Central High Apartments on N. William Street, according to the report.
From his patrol car, O'Neill saw legs sticking out of the driver's side door of a black Honda.
Hertel said Friday that O'Neill's body worn camera was not turned on until after Logan was already shot and laying on the ground.
As O'Neill approached Logan, the 19-year veteran officer told investigators he observed a knife in Logan's hand and a purse tucked under one of his arms.
"He (O'Neill) orders him to drop the knife. He takes out his gun, he orders him to drop the knife. Logan does not drop the knife," said Hertel at the press conference which was packed with Logan's family and community supporters. "O'Neill begins to back up -- his car is parked behind where Logan is. Logan continues to walk toward him. O'Neill continues to back up while ordering him to drop the knife. He did not drop the knife."
O'Neill, 44, fired two rounds at Logan as he allegedly moved toward him, according to the report.
"Evidence exists supporting two legal justification defenses of the shooting. Following an exhaustive investigation and analysis of the facts and the law, the State concludes that criminal prosecution of Sgt. Ryan O'Neill for the shooting death of Mr. Eric Logan is not possible," according to the report.
The South Bend Fraternal Order of Police lodge No. 36's President Harvey Mills applauded Hertel's decision. "Police officers never want to be put in the position where they have to use deadly force to defend their life -- they want to come to work, protect their community, and go home to their families, just like everyone else," said Mills.
One bullet from the 9 mm handgun struck Logan's chest "in a downward trajectory," said Hertel.
"The trajectory is consistent with Mr. Logan being slightly bent forward, toward Sgt. O'Neill," according to Dr. William Smock, an independent expert that reviewed Logan's autopsy and contributed to the report, adding, "The use of deadly force by Sgt. O'Neill was justified based upon the threat and imminent danger presented by the sharp-edged knife in the right had of Mr. Logan."
The 19-year police officer veteran told investigators that Logan was armed with a knife that was thrown at him.
"I'm like 'drop the knife' then he f------ throws it at me, so I f------ shot him," O'Neill said to five of his fellow officers who showed up to the scene, according to the report.
It was not clarified if the sharp object was thrown at him before or after he opened fire, said Hertel. Dr. Smock found that O'Neill did have a pattern of "abrasions to his left forearm...consistent with being struck by the serrated edge of the Gerber knife thrown by Mr. Logan."
The South Bend Police Department trains its officers to respond with "deadly force" when "an edged weapon" is involved.
Hertel presented a large billboard-sized photograph at the press conference of the knife Logan allegedly had on him -- the tip was broken. The knife and purse were reported missing from two of the cars that were broken into and "supports the likelihood Mr. Logan was engaged in the breaking and entering of vehicles to steal from them," according to the report that also showed that there was no forensic evidence connecting Logan to the carjackings.
A woman, believed to be Logan's sister, walked out of the press conference spewing profanities at Hertel.
"Tell the truth! That officer killed my brother. He didn't break into no damn cars...Sitting there telling all these lies about my brother, racist!" said the woman as she left the room.
There weren't any surveillance cameras at the crime scene.
Hertel could not determine if O'Neill was following the department's body camera policy. He explained that he was not aware of South Bend Police Department's rules.
When O'Neill was asked during the investigation, why his body camera was not turned on, he said at the time, "for low-level crimes ... it wasn't required."
Buttigeig ensured that South Bend officers now have to turn their body worn cameras on when interacting with civilians on duty and were to receive a technology upgrade that would automatically turn on the camera once an officer exists their patrol car. Buttigeig dropped out of the democratic presidential race this week.
As Logan lay on the parking lot ground, the officers placed Logan into the backseat of a car and drove him to a nearby hospital, instead of waiting for an ambulance -- a maneuver called a "load and go," said Hertel.
Members of the audience asked if it was wise to move a gunshot victim. "An independent expert determined the decision to immediately transport Mr. Logan to the hospital increased the likelihood of Mr. Logan's survival," according to the investigation's report.
Logan was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital about seven hours later, said Hertel.
O'Neill resigned from the department in July 2019. Hertel said O'Neill's had nine formal complaints filed against him and three were substantiated by the South Bend Police Department.
And while Hertel did not charge O'Neill with causing the death of Logan, the independent investigation found unrelated alleged felony offenses against the former officer.
O'Neill was charged on March 6 with public indecency, official misconduct and ghost employment charges from a May 16, 2019 incident where he allegedly paid for sex with a woman while on duty and driving a marked police car, according to public records. He posted $500 bond and is expected back in court on March 9. His attorney information was not available on Saturday.
Efforts by ABC News to receive a comment from O'Neill were not successful as of Saturday afternoon.
Former cop not charged for killing man still faces unrelated felony charges originally appeared on abcnews.go.com