South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg returned to Indiana abruptly on Sunday after a deadly shooting involving a member of his police force took place while he was out of the area campaigning for president.
The victim has been identified as 53-year-old Eric Jack Logan, a black man. An autopsy has been announced for this morning in Fort Wayne.
Police have not identified the law enforcement officer, who was placed on automatic leave, pending an investigation into the fatality.
‘I know that whenever an indent like this happens, there is tremendous hurt that can come about, that the city will be hurting,’ Buttigieg acknowledged at a late-night news conference. ‘We will be striving to reach out to community members.’
Buttigieg cancelled appearances in New York on Monday. A spokesman did not say when the Democratic presidential candidate would resume his campaign calendar.
The confrontation with police took place early Sunday morning, the St. Joseph prosecutor’s office said, after local authorities responded to a call about a suspicious person rummaging through vehicles.
In a statement the prosecutor’s office said the man came at an officer who responded to the call ‘with a knife raised.’ Details of the case are still under review.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, center, speaks during a news conference on Sunday as South Bend Common Council President Tim Scott, left, and South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski, listen
Buttigieg said the incident led to an ‘officer-involved shooting’ at his South Bend press conference.
He said the city protocol requires an independent, outside investigation, which was immediately opened.
The 37-year-old Democrat who’s competing for his party’s presidential nomination said that the city doesn’t ‘know much’ about the shooting yet and facts about the Sunday morning shooting were still trickling in.
‘One of the reasons we’re communicating upfront right now is because of lessons learned from members of the community,’ Buttigieg said. ‘We’ve had prior cases of use of force incidents and officer-involved shootings where I hesitated, frankly, to get in front of cameras because we didn’t know very much, and it was out of our hands.’
He said he learned from those instances that he needs to open the lines of communication with the city.
The shooting victim has been identified as 53-year-old Eric Jack Logan of South Bend
South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski said he’s ‘sickened’ by the fatality and so is the officer involved.
‘One of our family members was involved in an incident with another family member, and I’ll leave it at that,’ he said. ‘So the grieving process never ends. We never forget about these things.’
Ruszkowski could not say whether a knife was recovered at the scene but confirmed to press that all South Bend officers are required to wear body cameras and carry tasers.
Buttigieg was scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Committee’s LGBTQ Gala on Monday evening in New York. His husband Chasten will take his place, a campaign spokesman said.
‘We changed my schedule in order to make sure that I could be here today and also be able to speak with community leaders tomorrow,’ he said. ‘I can’t speak to what’s ahead, cause things often are pretty dynamic, but I did consider it important to be here to have these conversations.’
He said there’s a ‘range of of people’ he’d be meeting with, beginning with the police chief and city council president. Faith leaders and activists are also on the agenda.
Buttigieg said he had not ‘encountered’ any of Logan’s family members. ‘Certainly we’d be open to engaging with them,’ he said at the news conference.
An unidentified sister of Logan’s told local news station WSBT 22 that police may have killed the wrong suspect.
‘Don’t kill the innocent bystander,’ the sister told the station. ‘You don’t know if that was my brother that broke in y’all car, cause y’all seen a black person walking at 2:30 in the [expletive] morning so that give you the right to kill my brother? It don’t give y’all the right to do that.’
The Buttigieg campaign did not say, in response to a request for comment from DailyMail.com, how long the mayor plans to be in South Bend.
Buttigieg is scheduled to speak at the South Carolina Democratic Party’s 2019 State Convention on Sat. June 22 in Columbia alongside other presidential candidates.
‘Right now I’m here as mayor,’ he told Indiana reporters on Sunday evening, as he was asked about the shooting in the context of his campaign.
STATEMENT FROM SOUTH BEND MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG’S OFFICE
‘Early this morning near the Central High Apartments, a South Bend police officer responded to a call for service regarding a person breaking into vehicles. In the course of the incident response, the officer was involved in a shooting. The Mayor is aware of the situation and receiving updates from law enforcement. As with all officer-involved shootings, the Metro Homicide Unit is conducting an investigation. During that process, any related updates will come from Metro Homicide. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this incident and their families.’