FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Fort Wayne Police Chief Garry Hamilton said Wednesday the city teenager shot by one of his officers during a gang investigation midday Tuesday was armed at some point, but it’s not clear what happened to the weapon as the only gun found at the scene was in a car that later pulled up to the scene.
Hamilton addressed the media around 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, less than a full day after Officer Robert Hollo shot the 17-year-old boy just before 1:30 p.m. Tuesday while on an investigation in the 2800 block of Smith Street, near the Whitney M. Young Early Childhood Center at East Pontiac Street.
Police said Tuesday that teen was armed when Officer Hollo fired four shots at him as the boy and two others were being chased. On Wednesday though, Hamilton admitted that “the officer thought he saw a subject with a gun,” but a gun was never found on the teenager or near him.
Hamilton said the gun police said was found at the scene was inside a car that pulled up next to the squad car after the incident unfolded. The driver of that car admitted he had a gun in the car and had come to the scene after he heard gunshots, Hamilton said.
Hamilton said he held the press conference Wednesday to remain fully transparent with the public.
According to Hollo’s personal record, released by Hamilton Wednesday, the 8-year veteran officer has received two letters of reprimand and a suspension for police vehicle accidents, and two letters of commendation. He currently has two pending lawsuits and another that was settled.
The police department’s gang inspection team was in the area following up on a previous shooting in the area Monday evening, Hamilton said. The chief said the uniformed officer had been in an unmarked car when three teenagers approached the vehicle. He said the teens perhaps thought the car was involved in the previous night’s shooting.
As the teens approached, Hamilton said Hollo got out of the squad car. At that point, he said the teens saw Hollo was an officer and they ran off. As Hollo was chasing after them, Hamilton said witnesses heard him order them to stop repeatedly and they did not comply.
Hamilton said at some point then, Hollo thought he saw a gun on one of the teens. He then fired four shots, one that struck the teen. The other two teens ran off.
No gun was found on the teen.
Hamilton said the police department is frustrated with the city’s violent crime, a majority which involves young African Americans as victims and suspects. The chief invited local NAACP head Larry Gist to attend Wednesday’s conference.
“African American men are the victims and the suspects in these crimes. For me personally being an African American male and chief of police, it’s a really a painful thing to see this take place,” Chief Gary Hamilton said.