Rally for Norman Gary held outside courthouse while grand jury meets

GOSHEN, Ind. (WNDU) --- The chants outside the Elkhart County Courthouse changed as quickly as the stoplights, but the theme remained unchanged: justice for Norman.

"I heard about the injustice with Norman Gary and his case, and I felt specifically called to stand up and take witness," said Malcolm Stovall, a Goshen College senior.

On Tuesday, roughly a dozen people stood watch at the street corner while a grand jury convened to decide whether or not charges should be brought against two Elkhart policemen in connection with Norman Gary's death. The 29-year-old Elkhart man died from a gunshot wound on December 4. Early that morning, Officer Leonard Dolshenko and Sergeant Nathan Lanzen ran to Decamp Avenue after hearing gunshots while investigating a nearby burglary. Elkhart police say a shootout took place. Gary died, and three others were injured. The two officers remain on paid leave until the case is decided.

"I hope, with all of the evidence presented, I hope everything is fair," said Sandy Holt, Gary's sister. "We're praying for the officers to be indicted. I hope, I hope that's what happens."

For Mimi Salvador, a Goshen College senior, Gary's death elucidates a larger issue.

"There's so many African American men and women being shot in the streets and no impunity toward police officers," she said.

Salvador studies Peace, Justice, and Conflict Resolution. She attended the rally, armed with a cardboard sign that read: "Another black brother shot by police. Indigenous solidarity." Originally from Ecuador and a member of the native Kichwa tribe, Salvador empathizes with the racial undertones of Gary's death. But, his story resonates on a human level, she says.

"The fact that he is a father, and he has four children, and I think that if my parents were in that position, and if I was left without my parents, that would be a pretty painful story," added Salvador.

Stovall, her classmate, agreed.

"From a basic standpoint, I came out here because someone was shot, and they were left to die," he argued. "But I also see the racial aspect of it and how it fits in to what's happened with officer-involved shootings toward minorities and particularly African Americans."

The grand jury will continue proceedings on Wednesday.