An armed robbery suspect who was shot and killed by Fort Wayne Police early Wednesday morning has been identified.
In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, the Allen County Coroner's Office identified the man as 21-year-old Stephen O'Neal Wattley II, of Fort Wayne. Police have said an officer shot and killed Wattley after he ran into an apartment building and allegedly turned toward officers with a semi-automatic rifle.
The coroner's office confirmed that Wattley died of gunshot wounds, and his death has been ruled Allen County's fifth homicide of 2012, which means that his death was caused by the actions of another person.
At around 2:27 a.m., police were dispatched to the CVS pharmacy at 2802 E. State Blvd. in reference to an armed robbery investigation, according to FWPD spokesman John Chambers. Arriving officers saw an individual matching the description of the suspect who was running southbound from the business, he said. Officers pursued the suspect as he ran into an apartment building in the 1900 block of Hobson Road.
Police Chief Rusty York said Wednesday morning that the two officers chased the suspect into the apartment building's lobby. The suspect turned, and officers saw that he was armed with a semi-automatic rifle. One of the officers shot him. “I don't believe any shots were fired at the officers,” York said.
York said investigators have verified that the rifle is real, not a lookalike-but-less- dangerous weapon. It has a pistol grip, so it was shorter than many similar rifles, he said.
The name of the officer who shot and killed the suspect will be released Thursday, York said. York said this officer is a 31-year veteran who has been in no significant disciplinary trouble in the past.
Both officers who pursued the suspect into the apartment building have been placed on a five-day administrative leave, as is typical in shootings by police. Indiana State Police will be conducting a parallel investigation to the Fort Wayne Police investigation, the chief said. That also is typical in cases of shootings by police.
Police said they have reviewed video surveillance records from the CVS store and verified that the robber and the dead man are the same person.
This incident remains under investigation by the FWPD, Allen County Prosecutor's Office, and the coroner's office.