EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - 45-year-old Terry Chanley died after a police action shooting last month near Morgan Avenue and Theater Drive.
We’ve shown you the body camera video and we’ve heard from police on why they say the shooting was justified.
On Wednesday, reporter Evan Gorman talked with two of Chanley’s aunts along with his grandmother.
They tell us he was not an aggressive person and never has been. That is why they are confused about how his life was taken so quickly.
One key piece of evidence is what they question the most.
Gorman: How would you describe Terry?
Angela Hales, Chanley’s Aunt: Peacemaker, family peacemaker.
Gorman: Why is that?
Hales: Because he [Chanley] always tried to smooth any situation where the family might not be getting along. He would try to smooth it over.
But on October 28, Evansville police say Chanley appeared to be intoxicated and not following their commands after crashing his Jeep.
“My grandchildren saw him in Wadesville,” recalls Karen Norrington, Chanley’s Aunt. “He just came out of Frankie J’s. It was 5 o’clock and he joked with them like he always did. They said he was fine, normal. An hour and a half later, who would’ve thought this would happen to him.”
In the released body camera video from EPD Officer Mario Reid, we can see Chanley sitting in the driver’s seat in his work clothes, who was employed by a drywall company.
"He looked dazed, confused, disoriented. It looked like he didn't even know where he was."
The string of events in the coming seconds is described by his family as a senseless shooting.
EPD said in the press conference Officer Reid believed Chanley had a gun and that he continued reaching beneath his seat. EPD said the weapon turned out to be a hammer.
“I don’t think Terry grabbed a hammer and I don’t think the hammer was even his,” Norrington states. “A partner who worked with Terry said Terry used two hammers every day. And he described them. One was fiberglass red claw hammer with black handle and cast iron head. The other a natural wooden handle with stainless head. They said Terry used those every day. And he worked with him every day and worked with him for eight years. He knows it. That’s not even Terry’s hammer. There’s only a picture. Why wasn’t it under Terry’s stomach, in his hand, or by his body. It’s laying over in the grass."
His family left with looming questions hopes answers will come to light.
“If he had lived through this accident he’d have you laughing and he would tell the story his way, about how he was dodging bullets," explains Norrington. "That’s the kind of person Terry is.”
The family also tells us EPD has not reached out to them. As far as they know his Jeep remains in their possession.
We are still waiting for the toxicology report. Hales added she would like to know if there was any brain trauma cited in the autopsy from the wreck.