Brownstown officers cleared in shooting

The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office has cleared the officers involved in a Police action shooting in Brownstown. Prosecutor Jeff Chalfant released his findings on Monday.

Indiana State Police conducted the investigation, which consisted of multiple witness interviews, review of videos and documents. They say the investigation revealed that on the morning of April 3rd, an area woman took her daughter to school in Brownstown, and then drove away in her pick-up truck. The woman reached behind the truck seats and felt, then saw, Barry Rucker who was hiding in the back of the truck. State Police say that the woman had been in a relationship with Rucker, but it ended in late 2018 after Rucker had threatened her with a machete.

Authorities say that Rucker pulled out a handgun, pointed it at the woman, and told her to drive into the country. She instead drove to the Brownstown Police Department and ran inside to get help. However, the only two officers on duty were assisting with traffic at local schools.

Investigators say that Rucker chased the woman into the Brownstown Police Department, dragged her outside, and threatened to shoot and kill her. A person driving by noticed the struggle, called 911, and reported the scene.

Brownstown Police Chief Tom Hanner and Assistant Chief Joe Kelly arrived and confronted Rucker, but he refused to cooperate. The officers attempted to use “less lethal” measures by use of Tasers on Rucker, but the Tasers did not completely incapacitate him. Investigators say that after Rucker fell to the ground, he pointed a handgun at Chief Hanner. The officers ordered Rucker to drop his weapon, but he refused, leading both officers firing on Rucker.

Law enforcement officers with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department responded and rendered emergency medical aid to Rucker, who was transported to Schneck Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy revealed that Rucker died of multiple gunshot wounds. The autopsy also revealed that Rucker’s blood contained Methamphetamine and Fentanyl.

The investigation also revealed that the firearm that Rucker was armed with was a handgun capable of firing shotgun shells. It was, in fact, loaded with shotgun shells.

The investigation concluded that Chief Hanner and Assistant Chief Kelly were faced with an actual deadly force threat and were justified in using deadly force to protect themselves and others. Investigators add that Chief Hanner and Assistance Chief Kelly and the citizen who called 911 most likely saved the woman’s life.