Prosecutor: Investigation of shots fired 'insufficient,' officers won't face charges

ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. -- The Elkhart County Prosecutor's Office says it is not pursuing criminal charges in an incident involving three police officers and the sound of gunfire near US 33 and CR17 on December 14, 2018 because of an 'insufficient police response.'

During the early morning hours of December 14, a Goshen Police officer was monitoring traffic when he heard what sounded like two gunshots coming from an area under the overpass.

The officer then saw a pickup truck traveling north and began following it.

The officer called for backup as he witnessed the truck travel at an excessive speed and disregard a red light, according to reports.

After conducting a traffic stop on the truck, the officer made contact with the driver, Brody Brown, who was an officer with the Goshen Police Department.

As backup began to arrive, the officer said he observed Brown demonstrate signs of intoxication.

The officer began the investigation into Brown's alleged impaired driving while the other officers who arrived were tasked with investigating the possible gunshots.

Brown failed a field sobriety test and he was transported to the Goshen Police Department and jailed for operating while intoxicated.

Brown was apologetic and admitted to his alcohol use but said he did not know who fired the gun - only that it was one of his passengers, according to the prosecutor's office release.

Brown surrendered his weapon, which was fully loaded, reports said.

Captain Miller of the Goshen Police Department identified the other passengers in the vehicle as Kyle Kalb, an off duty Goshen Police officer and Leonard Dolshenko, an off duty Elkhart Police Officer, reports said.

Miller spoke with both Kalb and Dolshenko about the sound of gunshots. Both refused to respond, reports said.

Another investigator asked Kalb and Dolshenko about the gunshots and neither admitted any knowledge of shots being fired.

Captain Miller then moved the truck from the roadway and told Kalb and Dolshenko to get a ride home, according to the prosecutor's office release.

Officers on scene searched the roadway and grassy areas south of the underpass for ammunition casings or other evidence, but no evidence was located.

Goshen Police administrators were notified of the incident and because proper protocols were not followed, the Elkhart County Sheriff's Office was asked to take over the investigation, reports said.

Kalb was formally interviewed and advised that he could not recall what occurred regarding any alleged shooting as he had no memory due to his level of intoxication, but could recall details of other events that evening without difficulty, reports said.

Kalb admitted one of his personal handguns was missing two rounds after examining it the following day, but said he did not believe he had the gun with him that night and did not recall firing a gun from the vehicle, reports said.

Dolshenko was formally interviewed and said he could not recall any alleged shooting due to his level of intoxication, but was able to recall other details of that evening, reports said.

The Elkhart County Sheriff's Office completed their investigation and turned the case over to the prosecutor's office for review.

The prosecutor's office says the case lacks admissible evidence to determine whether any criminal act actually occurred, "due to the lack of appropriate investigation at the time of the suspected offense."

"There is no question that the failure to immediately secure the truck and the witnesses, and especially the lack of information provided by the witnesses, had a significant detrimental impact on the State’s ability to determine what, if any, criminal acts may have occurred. The failure of the officers that remained on the scene of Elkhart Road to complete their responsibility to investigate the report involving reckless use of a firearm prevented the State from being able to move forward in any meaningful way. Without credible and reliable evidence, the State is unable to proceed with official interventions toward protecting public safety," the press release said.

Other evidence was developed through the internal investigation conducted by the Goshen Police Department but that evidence is not admissible in court.

Brown pleaded guilty to OWI on January 22. He will be evaluated to determine if substance abuse treatment is needed and will be on probation until January 2020.

Because the prosecutor's office did not file charges in this case, the Elkhart Police Department took Corporal Leonard Dolshenko off administrative leave and he has resumed his normal duties.

An internal department investigation will look into whether any department policies were violated.

On Monday, February 25, Goshen's Police chief will have a press conference to release the results of the internal investigation into Kalb and Brown.

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