LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WFLI) - Justified. That's what a shooting review board said about two Lafayette police officers who shot and killed a man who stabbed another officer in the face.
The Lafayette Police Shooting review board found seven bullets hit Paul Spencer after he stabbed Officer Ron Dombkowski. Spencer later died of his injuries. The review board agreed deadly force was necessary.
"The use of deadly force review board finds Officer Dombkowski was at great risk and Officer Webb and Officer Fischer acted quickly and appropriately in defense of his life and were well within the department's policy for using deadly force," said Lafayette Deputy Chief Dave Payne.
The shooting happened after Spencer led Officer Jeff Webb on an almost four-mile chase through downtown Lafayette October 19, 2011. Spencer's car careened into an embankment at South 9th Street and Potomac Avenue near the Lafayette Country Club. Officer Webb pulled up behind Spencer's car and so did Officer Dombkowski, who was with his trainee, Officer Joe Fisher. Spencer then crossed the 22 feet between his car door to Officer Dombkowski and stabbed him in the face with a large knife.
"Officer Webb was between his vehicle and Officer Dombkowski's vehicle and ended up firing essentially across the roof. Officer Fisher was leaning around and firing around the windshield," said Payne.
In all, 10 shots were fired. Seven of them hit Spencer. Bullets hit both of his arms, his groin, his chest, his lower back and another grazed his rear. Three shots missed. Two of them went into the police car. One was found on the ground. It all happened in less than three seconds.
"Officer Webb and Officer Fisher quickly identified the threat, nearly simultaneously, and gauged the threat and quickly negated the threat," said Payne.
All three officers remain on paid administrative leave. They will go through a debriefing process before returning to the force.
"At some point, we'll make a decision when they'll go back to work," said Lafayette Police Capt. Kurt Wolf.
No timeline for their return has been set.
NewsChannel 18 spoke with Spencer's younger sister Monique Spencer Cuttingham. She said she doesn't believe shooting her brother seven times was justified and the officers had other options. He said her brother was a good man with a family who loves him.
The case will go to the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor who will determine if any charges will be filed.
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