TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A Terre Haute Police Officer was justified in his use of deadly force in the shooting death of James Ready, according to prosecutors.

According to a release from Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt, THPD officer Adam Noel has been cleared of any wrongdoing under Indiana law following an investigation into the incident by Indiana State Police.

“On December 1, 2022, Officer Adam Noel’s rapid response and decision to make entry into the home put himself at risk to assist another. This is what law enforcement is frequently called to do. Unfortunately, Mr. Ready’s refusal to drop the knife and his approach of Officer Noel put both the officer and another person in immediate risk of death or serious bodily injury. Under Indiana Law, the officer’s decision to use deadly force is appropriate and protected.”

Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt

Modesitt said the investigation by ISP revealed when Noel arrived at the home he could hear a woman screaming for help inside the residence. After kicking in the door and entering the home, Noel saw Ready armed with a knife on the far side of the house. A third person in the home was reportedly near Officer Noel and attempting to leave the house when Ready approached the two telling the officer “no” and to “kill me” in response to orders to drop the knife. Modesitt said Noel ordered Ready to drop the knife seven times during the incident. When Ready got within three steps of the officer and the other person, Noel fired three shots, two of which hit and killed Ready. The woman who had been heard screaming was later found to have eight stab wounds.

ISP detectives interviewed multiple witnesses as part of the investigation.

“A witness inside the home reported Ready making the threat “If I die then you dying with me.” She further reported that Ready busted down a bedroom door, went in, and began stabbing the victim multiple places and the victim started bleeding.”

Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt

A second witness who was outside of the residence told police they heard the woman screaming “help me, help me” prior to seeing the officer kicking in the door. A third witness told police Ready had been “high, very abusive, and paranoid”.

“While there is still some investigation into the overall situation to be completed, witness statements support and Ready’s history suggests that mental health played a significant role in this event,” Modesitt said. “Our officers continue to be the first responders to these crisis situations. We commend the Terre Haute Police Department in their ongoing training for responding to these mental health emergencies with training in crisis intervention, de-escalation, and defensive tactics. Unfortunately, not every event like this can be peaceably resolved. Officer Noel’s actions on this day prevented further injury and may have saved lives.”

Modesitt also thanked Indiana State Police for their efforts in completing this investigation.