Suspect Shot In Own Home: Was It Justified Use of Force?

By Katrina Helmer
By Scott Sarvay
By Jeff Neumeyer

March 19, 2012 Updated Mar 19, 2012 at 5:49 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- A Fort Wayne police officer who shot a suspect in that man's own home early Saturday now faces an inquiry about whether the shooting was a justified use of deadly force.

Patrol officer Jason Crowder, with ten years on the force, is on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure, after he deployed his Taser and shot a suspect with a handgun.

43-year old Vincent Castaneda was shot in the abdomen, and we're told is recovering from a non-life threatening wound.

His criminal record indicates since 2005, he was arrested three different times on charges relating to resisting law enforcement.

On Saturday, police say his estranged wife filed a complaint that Castaneda took a vehicle that didn't belong to him.

Officer Crowder pursued Castaneda before the suspect jumped out of a car and ran into his home in the 1100 block of Third Street.

Crowder and two other officers chased Castaneda inside.

Police say Crowder used a stun gun on the suspect, but that, for whatever reason, it didn’t work.

Chief Rusty York says that Castaneda then wrestled with Crowder, and got hold of the Taser, before Crowder fired his handgun.

Chief Rusty York/Fort Wayne Police Department: " We feel very comfortable with the way entry was made, because it was a hot pursuit type situation where Officer Crowder was right behind this individual. There's not a concern on our part, legally, about how this took place."

However, Indiana State Police are investigating whether the police action shooting was warranted, which is standard practice in such a case.

From all indications, Castaneda was not armed at the time of the confrontation in his home.

York says the probe will seek to answer several questions, including whether Castaneda used the stun gun on Officer Crowder.

Crowder’s record with the Fort Wayne Police Department is virtually clean.

He received a letter of reprimand in 2003 in connection with a traffic accident.

Police say Castaneda will likely face criminal charges once he’s recovered from his injuries.

The Allen County Prosecutor’s office will eventually decide if the shooting was justified, or if there’s evidence to support charges against Officer Crowder.

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