A police officer responding to a rollover car crash in an Indianapolis suburb on Thursday afternoon was fatally shot by a person in the wrecked car, the authorities said.
Lt. Aaron Allen of the Southport Police Department was the first officer to arrive at the scene of the crash at around 2:30 p.m. and was shot as he approached the car, which had flipped off a roadway and rolled into the front yard of a home. Lieutenant Allen was taken to a hospital, where he later died, police officials said.
“He responded to a crash with urgency to preserve life,” Thomas Vaughn, the chief of the Southport Police Department, said at a news conference at the hospital. “Tragically, his was lost.”
Two officers who arrived at the crash scene shortly after Lieutenant Allen both fired their guns at one of the car’s occupants, striking that person, the authorities said. That person and a second occupant, who was injured in the crash, were taken the hospital and were being held there by the police. They are expected to survive.
The police released few details about how the episode unfolded on a main road in Homecroft, a tiny suburb about seven miles south of downtown Indianapolis. The crash occurred near the border of Homecroft and Southport. It was unclear how the car lost control or whether the occupants were wanted by the police.
Lieutenant Allen, who joined the Southport Police Department six years ago, was named its first-ever officer of the year in 2015 for his actions to save a man’s life at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. He performed chest compressions on the man for 10 minutes until backup officers arrived with a defibrillator.
“I’m very surprised,” he told The Southport Times after he was honored in 2015. “It’s part of the job. I’m overwhelmed.”
Lieutenant Allen, who is married and has a son in the third grade, previously worked as an officer at the Indiana School for the Deaf and at a school district in Marion County, Ind., according to police officials. The Southport Police Department is an all-volunteer force except for Lieutenant Allen and the police chief, whose positions are both full time and salaried.