Family questions investigation after Melvin Bouler, 82, fatally shot by Gary police in 2019

GARY, Ind. (WLS) -- After a great-grandfather was killed by Gary police, his family is now questioning the timing of an investigation happening more than a year after his death.

In November 2019, Gary police shot 82-year-old Melvin Bouler outside a condominium complex. Police said officers were responding to reports of a man with a gun. They said Bouler did not follow officers' commands, prompting them to open fire on Bouler's vehicle. He spent more than a month in the hospital before dying from his injuries.

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Activists and Bouler's family are now demanding answers.

"We don't know what police shot him. We don't know if they were put on desk duty. We don't know if they were fired," said Kwabena Rasuli, Black Lives Matter activist.

"This incident was not of my father's character. He was not a threat to anyone," said Eric Bouler, his son.

Bouler's son called his father "gentle" and "hard-working."

"He told us he believed in Gary. Unfortunately this allegiance cost him his life," Eric Bouler said.

In a federal lawsuit filed last month, Bouler's family claimed he was shot at least seven times. They question why deadly force was used, claiming Bouler was unarmed and hearing impaired.

"You talk about things that cause communities to doubt and lose confidence, this is one of those things. You haven't even identified the officers," said Robert Beeman, Bouler family attorney.

Now the family is suing the city of Gary, the police chief and the officers involved in the shooting, claiming wrongful death, plus constitutional, civil rights and other violations.

The city of Gary declined to comment on pending litigation and the police department has not responded to our requests for comment.

The Lake County Indiana Sheriff's Office said it has completed its investigation of the shooting and now the county prosecutor wants a grand jury to review the case.
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