As the Allen County prosecutor's office released new details in the officer-involved homicide of Shaquille Kelly on May 22 and announced that no charges would be filed, the family said they don't believe the official story and want more answers.
Kelly, 26, died after being shot once in the chest, according to the Allen County coroner, who ruled it a homicide shortly after his death.
The prosecutor's office said Tuesday that police attempted to stop Kelly's car after they responded to a report of shots fired in the 3900 block of Winter Street. They said Kelly refused to stop and fled from officers “and eventually crashed into a house in the 3600 block of Oliver Street.”
Kelly then exited the vehicle with a handgun in his hand, and because officers believed Kelly “would shoot at the officers due to the manner in which he held the handgun ... an officer fired at Kelly, killing him,” a news release said.
The prosecutor's office said no charges would be filed in Kelly's death. It did not name the officer, whom Fort Wayne police previously identified as Christopher Hawthorne.
A woman who was close to Kelly and his family are questioning the report.
“That's the best story you all can come up with?” asked Melina Dominquez, the mother of Kelly's four young children.
On the other hand, Dominquez said, the details released show “how seriously they take this.”
Dominquez said she learned of the prosecutor's decision after being contacted by The Journal Gazette. Since Kelly's death, the family has not been contacted by any law enforcement agency, she added.
Further information in Tuesday's news release said Indiana State Police tested a .45 caliber handgun found near Kelly's body and that the handgun had Kelly's DNA on it. “A shell casing found in the 3900 block of Winter Street matched said handgun.”
At a Sept. 7 vigil, Sgt. Thomas Strausborger with the Fort Wayne Gang and Violent Crimes Unit told The Journal Gazette that Kelly had shot at a home before he was killed.
Willie Kelly, Kelly's father, said his son may have had a gun in the car, but that doesn't mean he used it.
Dominquez said she has tried but has not been able to see Kelly's gold Chrysler.
During the incident, the car was somehow propelled over a grassy ridge at the corner of Oliver and Grier streets and into the front of the vacant home on Oliver Street.
“Apparently all his belongings have mud on them,” Dominquez said. She believes he was pulled out of the car and shot. “I don't believe he ever got out of the car.” She doesn't believe he would have done anything to keep him away from his family.
Dominquez said details released earlier by Fort Wayne police were confusing, starting with the claim a week after his death that police found a gun near Kelly's body, without saying where his body was.
Dominquez said she was surprised when Hawthorne received awards at the Sept. 11 Fort Wayne police awards ceremony. He received an award of excellence and a letter of commendation.
“They know they messed up and they have to cover their own at the end of the day,” Dominquez said.