South Bend Police tackling first independent homicide investigation
SOUTH BEND, Ind -- The South Bend Police Department handling a homicide investigation independently for the first time in nearly 30 years.
This comes after the city announced in September the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit would be disbanded with the South Bend Police Department pulling out over staffing issues.
The police department now searching for answers on their own this time around after 30-year-old Sa’Sha Agnew was found dead inside her home on the 800 block of South Lake Street last Friday, from an apparent gunshot wound.
The department told ABC57 they believe the transition will be smooth because of the long-standing partnership with Metro Homicide and their role in previous training of officers there. They added investigations like these will still happen as normal just under a new team.
“There is no difference whatsoever,” said Captain Jason Biggs, head of the South Bend Police Department Detective Bureau. “We’ve been working with county Metro Homicide and the Prosecutor’s Office, so we see no change in the transition, it’s just more detectives working these cases with the community.”
The St. Joseph County Metro Homicide unit was established back in the early 1990’s and included several agencies: The South Bend Police department, Mishawaka Police, St. Joseph County Police, and the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office.
But with Metro Homicide now broken up, the South Bend Police Department is tackling their first independent investigation following the death of Agnew on Friday.
Which Captain Biggs said will now be handled by the police department's Shooting response Team that was formed back in 20-17.
“We have our shooting response team that was investigating all of the shootings in the city. The shooting response has been added or expanded with additional detectives forming the violent crimes unit and they’ll be investigating the shootings and the homicides,” explained Biggs.
Biggs added the Violent Crimes Unit was expanded with the recent transition now consisting of about eight detectives, four more than before.
And even amid staffing shortages and the recent uptick in violent crimes in the city, Biggs said he doesn’t anticipate there to be any problems with tackling investigations in the future.
“We’ve worked every single shooting case just like a homicide case. So for our detectives the transition was quite easy, we’ve held every single investigation to the highest level, to the highest felony levels possible. So, bringing on the suspicious thefts and the homicides is somewhat of an easier transition for our detectives because we’ve been holding them to those standards,” added Captain Biggs.
Biggs said since the Lake Street homicide investigation is still ongoing, the department cannot give any more details at this time.
But officials are still urging anyone with information to reach out to South Bend Police or Michiana Crime Stoppers AT 574-288-STOP.