No charges will be filed against the South Bend Police officer who shot and killed a man in the line of duty Monday. Prosecutors say Patrolman Jason King did what was absolutely necessary to defend his own life and the homicide has been ruled justifiable. Officer King responded to a domestic dispute call in the neighborhood of E. Bowman and S. Vernon Streets Monday. When he arrived he spotted 25-year-old Joseph Hanrath in the neighborhood. Hanrath matched the description of the offender in that call. Patrolman King chased him until Hanrath turned on the policeman and attacked him. Police say Hanrath used a military or martial arts move to choke Officer King.
Metro Homicide investigators say a tape recording from King’s police radio details the attack with sounds of King gurgling and choking, nearly to death. A “Good Samaritan” from the neighborhood came to Patrolman King’s aid, but could not get Hanrath to let up. “ Make no mistake, Officer King was in a fight for his life,” says Metro Homicide Commander Tim Corbett. "He wasn’t fighting for points, he wasn’t fighting for a belt, he wasn't fighting for trophies, he was in a fight for his life. Officer King had two decisions to make at that time, kill or be killed. Officer King continued to fight. He was on his back and able to get to his duty weapon. Just before he nearly succumbed to the choking and the near neck breaking he was able to fire one round into Mr. Hanrath.”
Emergency crews were on the scene of the shooting just a few minutes after the shooting and police officers closed intersections in an attempt to rush Joseph Hanrath to the hospital before he died. The 25-year-old did not survive. Toxicology reports should tell police if Hanrath was on drugs at the time he attacked Patrolman King. Prosecutors say Hanrath has a lengthy violent criminal history. Patrolman Jason King is home recovering from relatively minor injuries. He could return to duty later this week. Police say they expect to honor both Patrolman King and the “Good Samaritan” who came to the officer’s aid with some commendation in the future.