IMPD Car

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer Robert Lawson faces multiple criminal charges after punching a 17-year-old. Chief Bryan Roach is recommending his termination. (Photo/Tyler Fenwick)

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers Brett Lorah and Jeremy Torres were “justified in using deadly force” when they shot and killed 45-year-old Deshon Downing during a traffic stop on the evening of Aug. 2, 2019, special prosecutors announced in their final report.

The officers “were faced with an armed subject and an actual deadly force threat,” according to the report, and have no criminal liability.

According to the report, released by special prosecutors Mark Hollingsworth and Daniel Carnes, officers attempted to have Downing, a passenger in the van, exit the vehicle after he gave false identification information.

Torres attempted to open the passenger door, but Downing did not comply, according to the report.

Officer Jereme Morris told Downing to “stop reaching,” after which a “brief struggle” ensued.

Downing then grabbed a handgun and pointed it at the officers. Officers Torres and Brett Lorah shot Downing, who, according to the report, then threw the gun out of the van on the driver's side.

“Officer Torres and Officer Lorah did not see Downing discard the handgun,” the report reads, “and were under the belief that Downing still had the gun in his possession during the entire time shots were fired. Officers continued to command Downing to display his hands and Downing did not comply.”

IMPD initially said officers found a gun under Downing’s body.

Back-up officers arrived and pulled Downing from the vehicle after he tried getting to the driver’s side (the driver, identified as T.D., got out of the van and laid on the ground when officers started shooting).

Downing was handcuffed, according to the report, and emergency medical personnel attempted life-saving measures, but Downing was pronounced dead on the scene.

The report does not say how long after Downing was shot that medical personnel arrived.

A statement from IMPD said the officers' actions will be "rigorously reviewed for compliance with both state and departmental policies." The officers will remain on administrative leave while an internal investigation continues.

The statement also said the prosecutors' report will be reviewed, and a Firearms Review Board will meet in the "near future" to determine if the officers' actions were in compliance with department policies and training.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-766-1406. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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