EPD: Man shot by officer pointed what appeared to be a gun, turned out to be a hammer

Police-involved shooting 10 p.m. Tuesday coverage

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Evansville Police held a news conference Tuesday afternoon about the “police action shooting” on Evansville’s east side that left a man dead.

The coroner says the man who was killed, 45-year-old Terry W. Chanley, of Wadesville, died from a single gunshot to the chest.

Terry Chanley. (Source: Family picture)
Terry Chanley. (Source: Family picture) (Source: Chanley's family)

EPD says an officer was investigating a crash near Morgan and Theater, before the shooting. At 6:28 p.m., EPD says dispatch received a call about a traffic accident, and at 6:30 p.m. the officer called in shots fired.

Full news conference on officer action shooting

We have edited together a 911 call from a crash witness, radio traffic, and a 911 call from a man claiming to witness the shooting.

911 calls and radio traffic released in officer involved shooting

Captain Chandler tells us the officer was asking that individual questions about the car accident he wasn’t getting a response. Police say the officer saw the man make quick movements like he was reaching for something.

He says Chanley pointed, what the officer believed could be a gun.

That’s when the officer stepped back, gave orders and eventually fired shots.

Police say they later found that the item was a black-handled hammer.

Officers say a hammer is a deadly weapon, and Chanley advanced toward the officer with it.

Vanderburgh County Coroner Steve Lockyear says the investigation is in its preliminary stages. Lockyear says Chanley’s autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday morning and additional information will be released when it because available.

Police are also waiting for a toxicology report.

Morgan Avenue was closed while crews worked the scene. The road has since reopened.

The officer’s name is not being released at this time, but they do say he has been with the department for about 10 years.

Police believe the officer acted appropriately.

A 911 caller says he believes the man had his hands on his head when he was shot. Police say that claim is false. They say that witness could have been confused by what he saw.

Police say there’s body cam and dash camera video and in a tweet, they announced they will be releasing that footage on Wednesday to help debunk that witness’s account.

EPD Chief Billy Bolin responded to the incident on social media saying “...police officers aren’t running around looking for a chance to shot someone. It is a horrible situation that we don’t want to be in. The Officer involved is a great man that was forced to take an action he never wanted to.”

Tuesday we heard from some who say they heard it all happen.

One woman tells us that she was in her car at the intersection when she heard the sound of tires screeching and then Chanley’s vehicle crashing into a pole.

One woman who lives nearby said she didn’t hear anything, but was alerted by text messages from her friends. She says she would have never expected any kind of shooting to happen near her home.

So when she realized what was going on, she walked down to the scene to check on those that she thought may have been in harm’s way.

“At first, I thought maybe it was the neighbors doing fireworks or something because, you know, that happens a lot but, nothing else out of the ordinary," she said. "And then I got another text from a couple of my other friends asking me the same thing… so I was like, okay something is up!”

We also received a statement from Chanley’s father who tells us his son, Terry, was a good family man, who had never been in trouble and are at a complete loss. His funeral is scheduled for Friday at Browning Funeral Home on Diamond Avenue.

Officer-involved shooting Tuesday coverage part 1
Officer-involved shooting Tuesday coverage part 2

Below is our on-scene coverage from Monday night.

EPD: Man pronounced dead after ‘police action shooting’
EPD: Man pronounced dead after ‘police action shooting’

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