What we know about fatal Evansville police shooting (2024)

Houston HarwoodEvansville Courier & Press

EVANSVILLE — The Evansville Police Department disclosed new information about Tuesday's fatal police shooting, which came after law enforcement received information that the man who was shot could "have an armed confrontation" with officers, an official said.

Just before 5 p.m. Wednesday, the Vanderburgh County Coroner's Office publicly identified the man as 36-year-old Kyle Puckett. Puckett is the sole individual listed in Indiana Secretary of State business records as a governing person for the Evansville-based business Puckett Heating and Air Conditioning.

Five officers fired on Puckett after a tense, armed standoff, EPD Sgt. Trudy Day told reporters during a news conference. Puckett dialed 911 at approximately 5:17 p.m. Tuesday from his residence in the 500 block of Lewis Avenue, according to Evansville-Vanderburgh Central Dispatch.

In audio of the call released by the EPD Wednesday afternoon, Puckett is heard stating, "I have called in multiple times, and if you will not take action, I will."

"Take action on what?" a dispatcher is heard replying.

Puckett goes on to claim that he knew about a "criminal operation" that he would deal with "himself." Dispatchers told Puckett there was nothing he could do, and the call eventually cut off.

The five officers are reported to have fired shots at Puckett primarily from a defensive position they had taken up some distance away from the home along U.S. 41, according to the EPD. The officers are on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.

The department released the 911 call audio, and other information, to reporters and the public during a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

Body camera and drone footage show portions of what happened

According to bodyworn camera footage published Wednesday, when officers first arrived at Puckett's home, which is located at 513 Lewis Ave., Puckett was sitting in a parked utility truck.

As one officer approaches, Puckett exits the vehicle and appears to tell the officer to get off of his property "right now." Day stated that Puckett "pulled a handgun from a shoulder holster he was wearing and pointed the handgun at the officer."

The officers who responded to the initial 911 call retreated at approximately 5:34 p.m. and took cover, Day said, and called for backup.

Soon, additional officers parked police cruisers along a stretch of U.S. 41 just west of the Lewis Avenue home and drew their weapons, including semi-automatic rifles.

According to body camera and drone footage, the officers were some distance away from the scene.

Warning: The following video contains graphic scenes of violence.

What we know about fatal Evansville police shooting (1)

What we know about fatal Evansville police shooting (2)

EPD releases video of officer-involved shooting at 513 Lewis Avenue

The Evansville Police Department releases video of the officer-involved shooting that occurred at 513 Lewis Avenue Wednesday, July 2, 2024.

Evansville Police Department

"At 5:42 p.m. (Puckett), while still on the back porch with at least one clearly observed handgun, began once again reaching around the porch," Day said. "Five officers then discharged their weapons upon the offender, stopping the threat. Officers then rendered aid, until the scene was safe for AMR medics to enter."

In response to a question from a reporter, Day said it was not clear if Puckett − who is seen in body camera footage aiming a long rifle at officers and holding a handgun − ever fired one of the weapons at the police. By the time officers discharged their weapons, Puckett appeared to have placed the rifle inside his home.

Day said crime scene technicians did not recover spent shell casings from Puckett's back porch, where he was positioned when the officers opened fire. Initial media reports published Tuesday claimed that officers opened fire in response to Puckett discharging a weapon.

Shots fired by officers spaned more than one minute

A handgun, and what police said were additional magazines, were positioned near Puckett's feet in the moments leading up to the shooting, according to footage captured by an aerial drone. Puckett is seen reaching toward the handgun but does not pick the weapon up.

Puckett is then seen leaning away from the gun and placing his right hand on a nearby railing while leaning his left arm against his knee. Officers then opened fire. Puckett's movements to and away from the gun − and the first shots fired by officers − happened within a span of seconds.

After the first rounds impact − it is unclear if the shots struck Puckett − he is seen in the drone footage picking up the handgun and moving toward a grassy area in his backyard, placing Puckett briefly out of view of the drone's camera.

As the camera pans out, Pucket is seen lying on the ground, aiming a handgun in the direction of the U.S. 41, the footage shows. Officers fire additional shots, one of which can be seen hitting a surface nearby. Puckett is shot and killed after he crawls toward a set of steps leading to the backdoor of his home.

About one minute and 38 seconds elapsed between the first shot fired by the police and the shots that are seen hitting Puckett as he crawled toward the steps, according to the aerial drone footage.

"The officers' and suspect's firearms were collected as evidence and will be sent off for ballistic testing," Day said. "The five involved officers who discharged their weapons were placed on a three-day administrative leave and will give statements on the investigation upon their return to work as stated in our department operating guidelines."

Concerns about Puckett voiced to police before shooting

For months leading up to the shooting, law enforcement knew that Puckett possessed firearms and could be at risk of hurting himself and others, according to Day.

In April, Day said, an officer noted that Puckett "owned multiple handguns and long guns" and that "his parents have stated he would have an armed confrontation if confronted by police."

Years earlier, Puckett lost access to his firearms for a time, according to Day, though it was not immediately clear why.

"In 2018, officers removed weapons from his home," Day said in response to a reporter's question.

On Monday, officers visited Puckett's home after Evansville dispatchers received a call indicating he could be at risk of harming himself or others. Day said Puckett told the officers he wanted them to leave, which they did.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all involved," Day said.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the direction officers were positioned on U.S. 41 relative to Lewis Avenue. The article was updated Wednesday night.

Houston Harwood can be contacted at houston.harwood@courierpress.com.

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