Elkhart officer's gun goes off during scuffle with suspect

Sergeant Nathan Lanzen and Deputy Justin Yoder // Photos provided

An Elkhart officer's gun discharged during a struggle with a suspect on Sunday morning, state police tell us. No one was injured.

Police say around 3 a.m. Elkhart County officers attempted to make a traffic stop near County Road 4 and County Road 9. The vehicle didn’t stop.

There was a short pursuit and the vehicle was driven into the North Lake Apartments complex.

At this point Elkhart city officers got involved.

Police say the driver -- 27-year-old Michael Christian -- stopped and ran.

Officers found him attempting to enter an apartment with a key in the 52000 block of Brookstream Circle, say police.

There was a physical struggle between Christian and officers. During that struggle police say Sgt. Nathan Lanzen's handgun discharged. Lanzen is an officer with the Elkhart Police Department.

Elkhart County Deputy Justin Yoder fired a shot in response to that, say state police.

No one was hit.

At 3:04 the call of shots fired was made to dispatch.

An arrest was made. The suspect was taken to the hospital to be checked out.

Elkhart County and Elkhart city have requested state police investigate.

Sgt. Lanzen is mentioned in a lawsuit that was filed recently regarding a another police involved shooting back in 2016. Here’s some background information from our reporting this week.

The following release was issued by Indiana State Police:

Elkhart County-The Indiana State Police has been requested by the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department and the Elkhart Police Department to investigate a police action shooting that occurred around 3:00 a.m. on December 16, 2018.

Preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 3:00 a.m., Elkhart County Deputy Justin Yoder attempted to stop a red 2005 Mazda for a traffic violation near CR 4 and CR 9 in Elkhart County. The driver of the Mazda, Michael Christian, 27 of Elkhart reportedly did not stop and a pursuit began, with Sgt. Nathan Lanzen from Elkhart Police Department assisting.

The pursuit entered the North Lake Apartment complex when Christian stopped his car and fled on foot. As other officers arrived to assist, Christian attempted to enter an apartment with a key located at 52074 Brookstream Circle when a physical struggle ensued at the entrance to the apartment. At approximately 3:04 a.m. Lanzen’s handgun discharged as a result of the struggle. Yoder is reported to have fired his handgun as well. Nobody was struck as a result of either firearm discharging.

Christian was arrested on several charges as a result of the pursuit by the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department.

Yoder is a 4 1/2 year veteran with the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department. Lanzen has been a member of the Elkhart Police Department for 10 years.

This is an ongoing investigation and no other information will be released at this time. At the conclusion of the investigation all information will be turned over to the Elkhart County Prosecutor for review.

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