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Prosecutor says Jeffersonville officers were justified in deadly shooting in March

Police caution tape
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The Clark County prosecutor has determined officers who fatally shot a man in Jeffersonville in March were acting in self defense.

The Clark County prosecutor has determined no criminal charges will be filed against Jeffersonville, Indiana police officers who fatally shot a man at an apartment complex in March.

Robert W. Atkins, 44, died March 12, three days after being shot by officers in the parking lot of Eastlawn Arms on East Eighth Street.

Police said they had responded on a report of a man with a gun. They said they shot Atkins after he fired two shots in the air and advanced on the officers.

The agency presented body camera footage from three of the five responding officers following the shooting. In the videos, they can be heard discussing using less lethal force, including a taser. Jeffersonville Police Maj. Josh Lynch said they didn’t have time to use those measures.

Indiana State Police are investigating the shooting. They turned over initial findings to Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull March 21; information including their review of body camera footage and interviews with responding officers.

That same month, Mull found the officers were justified in the shooting under state law.

He said after reviewing all of the evidence, “It was clear that the individual produced a gun, pointed it at officers, and they did fire at him,” he said. “And I did determine it was justifiable.”

Jeffersonville police previously said they believed three officers fired at Atkins. All five who responded were placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.

The Jeffersonville Police Department also initiated its own internal investigation into the matter. A spokesperson confirmed to LPM News Tuesday that it is still open, and that a review board determined the officers did not violate any department policies. They have returned to work.

Indiana State Police are still awaiting toxicology results and information from Atkins’ phone to determine what may have led to the interaction with police.

Coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by Samtec, Inc. and the Hazel & Walter T. Bales Foundation.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.

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