Gary police officer won't be charged in fatal 2019 shooting of Melvin Bouler, 82

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Friday, July 16, 2021
Gary police officer won't be charged in 2019 fatal shooting
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A grand jury decided not to charge the Gary police officer who shot and killed 82-year-old Melvin Bouler in 2019.

GARY, Ind. (WLS) -- The family of Melvin Bouler said they will get justice, although a grand jury decided not to charge the Gary police officer who shot and killed the patriarch of their family two years ago.

Following a lengthy investigation, the grand jury's decision on the charges of murder and reckless homicide came down Thursday. ABC7 is not identifying the police officer because he has not been charged with any crime.

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

The officer shot Bouler on November 17, 2019 while responding to a report of an intoxicated man with a weapon at an apartment on Roosevelt Street in Gary.

Investigators said they found that the 82-year-old was drunk and armed with a handgun that he'd threatened to use to harm himself and others.

The officer said Bouler was sitting in a car outside the complex when he pulled out a silver revolver from his right pocket and pointed it at the officer.

"[He] responded to the fire arm being pointed at him and commanded Bouler to drop the gun, fired his service weapon through the front window shield of the vehicle striking Bouler and causing him to drop the weapon," said Commander Michael Stewart, Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Bouler was struck several times and critically wounded. Authorities said they recovered a loaded weapon from inside his red Nissan Altima. He died two months later.

Thursday afternoon, the officer's attorney said while her client is relieved by the grand jury's decision, he's remorseful that Melvin Bouler died.

"This has tremendously impacted him," said Jamise Perkins, the officer's defense attorney. "He only fired his weapon because he feared for his life."

But attorneys for Bouler's family said he was hearing impaired and wasn't intoxicated or a danger to anyone. They've filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit in federal court accusing city officials of negligence.

"It's just one of those things where it doesn't sit well with you," said Robert Beeman, Bouler family attorney.

The city of Gary denies any wrongdoing. Gary police said the officer has been on paid administrative leave, but having been cleared of any criminal charges, can now return to active duty.