GREENWOOD, Ind. (WXIN) — Video released Friday showed a March encounter that left a woman dead outside the Greenwood Police Department.
Four officers fired 33 shots during the incident, Greenwood Police Chief James Ison told FOX59.
The footage showed the tense moments that ensued, with body cameras and a surveillance camera at the police department capturing the chaotic scene.
The video revealed some previously unknown details, including how police almost had the driver, 49-year-old Monica Vaught, stopped before she ever reached the police station after her car crashed into a utility guy-wire.
Officers also attempted to break windows after the driver ended up at the police station but were ultimately unsuccessful. Greenwood police said the driver, identified as 49-year-old Monica Vaught, was high on methamphetamine and also had amphetamine in her system.
GRAPHIC WARNING: The video below contains graphic language and violence. Viewer discretion advised.
The incident started around 11:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29. Dispatchers received a 911 call about a possible drunk driver at Madison Avenue and County Line Road, with a car going southbound in the northbound lane.
Officers tried to stop Vaught. She didn’t pull over, however, and led police on a winding pursuit through downtown Greenwood that eventually stopped at the Greenwood Police Department on Surina Way.
Before reaching the police department, Vaught crashed into a guy-wire on South Meridian Street after driving up on the sidewalk. At that point, it looked like the situation may have been contained. Body camera footage showed officers out of their vehicles with guns drawn before she backed up and drove away.
Vaught then went south toward Main Street before heading east. She cut through a church parking lot and the parking lot of the Greenwood Fire Department Headquarters to reach S. Washington Street. She then drove into the parking lot of police headquarters.
“Is [the driver] going to the PD?” an officer was heard saying on camera.
Footage from a security camera at the police station showed Vaught’s white car pulling into a lot where several police cars were parked. She turned left after the gate and then stopped. A police cruiser driven by Officer Ben Louzon pulled up behind her to block the entrance. She then backed her car into Louzon’s patrol car and drove forward. Another police car arrived at a second gate to block her escape.
“Block her in,” the officer was heard saying. He drew his service weapon and said, “Get out of the [expletive] car!” Then Vaught backed into the police car. “She just rammed me! She just rammed me!”
Vaught then circled the parking lot and stopped in some parking spaces, the video showed. Police rushed toward the car, but Vaught turned sharply, stopped for a moment and then rammed a parked police SUV with enough force to move it.
At that point, it appeared police had the situation contained. Officers, including Officer Zane Hennig, moved their cars to box in Vaught, and it looked like she didn’t have anywhere else to go.
“Bust the window out and let the dog in,” the officer yelled in body camera footage.
Officers unsuccessfully tried to break her windows, one on the driver’s side and another on the passenger’s side. Guns drawn, they yelled at Vaught to get out of the car. They deployed stop sticks in front of and behind the vehicle, flattening the tires on the passenger’s side.
But Vaught backed into the car behind her, found some space and then drove in the direction of officers, who were seen sidestepping her vehicle. Officers Louzon and Elijah Allen opened fire. More than a dozen shots were heard.
After the shots were fired, it looked like Vaught had a clear path on the right side. She drove in an arc and went left in the direction of officers.
With the car heading toward them, Hennig and Sgt. Brandon Cox fired. Shots struck the car and Vaught. Eleven gunshots were fired during the exchange.
“She’s down. I got her,” the officer was heard saying. The video showed the passenger’s side window was shattered.
Vaught’s car came to rest against a fence, bringing an end to the chaotic situation. Officers rendered medical aid until paramedics arrived, but Vaught died at the scene.
Chief Ison said a dozen shots struck Vaught during the encounter. He stood behind the actions of his officers.
“I don’t know what else they could have done,” he told FOX59.
The Greenwood Police Department Investigation Division’s probe into the matter found the officers acted in a lawful manner. An independent review from the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office came to the same conclusion.
The Greenwood Police Conduct Review Board also looked into the incident to see if policies and procedures were followed. One officer at the scene who wasn’t involved in the shooting failed to immediately activate his body camera. Another officer jeopardized his own safety by standing in the path of a moving vehicle. The officer must complete a policy review, the department said.
The officers involved in the shooting have returned to work.