UPDATE: Names of officers involved in Elkhart shooting released

By: NewsCenter 16 Staff, Gabby Gonzalez Email
By: NewsCenter 16 Staff, Gabby Gonzalez Email
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Elkhart, Ind. The names of the officers involved in a shooting that happened Sunday night in the 400 block of West Marion Street in Elkhart have been released.

Those involved were Cpl. Jason Ray, hired in August 2006, Ptlm. Jason Gruber, hired in May 2011 and Ptlm. Daniel Mayer, hired in May 2011

The officers are on paid administrative leave pending the completion of the Indiana State Police Investigation and Elkhart County Prosecutor review and determination of the facts of the incident.

The incident began with an attempted traffic stop at 8 p.m., at the intersection of Cassopolis and Bristol Streets. The driver, Christopher James Ryckeart, was suspected of being intoxicated, and police say the 1995 Chevy pickup truck was reported stolen.

Ryckeart refused to stop and led units from several departments on a chase that lasted more than 40 minutes. The chase crossed the border into Michigan, before returning to Elkhart. Ryckeart was shot and killed behind a house in the area of 4th Street and Marion Street.

In the autopsy released by the Elkhart County Coroner, Ryckeart's death was caused by multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen, chest and left arm.

Initial reports indicated that at least one other person was inside the vehicle.

The investigation has been handed over to Indiana State Police.

The police chase ended in the backyard of a family's home. A neighbor tells Newscenter 16 that the family children are ages five through 14. They were gathered in the kitchen when they heard gunshots.

"It was extremely scary that the mom was in the shower and the girls were all in the kitchen getting it cleaned up," said Rachael Herrera, who lives next door and is a close family friend. "Had a bullet come in the house, it could have struck one of them. It just scared me to death. They are like my grandkids."

Tire tracks can still be spotted in the family's yard. Herrera said she heard commotion before the gunfire.

"[The truck] went through our alley then turned left into their alley," Herrera said. "He tried to go through their yard and got stuck in two holes that had been dug up by dogs."

The children were very rattled after seeing all the police activity right outside their door, according to Herrera.

Marchelle Clemons was visiting her boyfriend Sunday night as police chased Ryckeart.

"I heard four gunshots," Clemons said. "I thought it was someone knocking on the door. 'Pow, pow,pow.'"

This is not Ryckeart's first run-in with the law. He has several burglaries on his record. Ryckeart's last conviction was in 2008 for a string of burglaries in St. Joseph County.

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