(SALEM) – Washington County Prosecutor Dustin Houchin released his report of findings into the investigation of the police-involved shooting which occurred on July 3, 2019 in Salem.
In his report, the prosecutor outlines the facts and findings of the investigation, applicable laws, and the use-of-force standards relevant to the case.
The report reveals that a single officer, Chief Joey Wheeler, a 20 year veteran of the Salem Police Department, fired his department-issued weapon, striking and killing Mark Naugle.
The prosecutor stated the Indiana State Police completed a thorough and independent investigation and that he finds Chief Wheeler “acted in accordance [with his] training and in compliance with Salem Police Department standard operating procedures using deadly force in carrying out his duties as a sworn law enforcement officer”.
The report concludes by stating that Wheeler’s actions were “reasonable given the totality of the circumstances” and that the case is closed with no charges being filed in the matter.
On July 3, 2019, at approximately 2 p.m., the Indiana State Police (ISP) in Sellersburg were dispatched to the area of the Washington County Fairgrounds in Salem after a report of an officer-involved shooting involving Salem city police officers.
ISP detectives assumed the investigation upon arriving on-scene at the request of the Salem Police Department and were assisted by officers from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.
The initial evidence and investigation reveal that shortly before 2 p.m., Salem City Police arrived on fairgrounds property to investigate a suspicious person call involving a male subject. Officers eventually located 53-year-old Mark A. Naugle, of Scottsburg, standing in the creek which borders the property. During the encounter, at least one Salem police officer fired their weapon, striking and killing Naugle.
Both police officers were placed on administrative leave, which is customary in police-involved shootings.
Once the preliminary investigation has been completed, all information was turned over to the Washington County Prosecutor for review.
Indiana State Police units were assisted by the Salem City Police Department, The Washington County Sheriff’s Department, Washington County EMS, and the Washington County Coroner’s Office.