EPD makes new arrest in officer involved shooting; frees wrongly arrested 17-year-old

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Published: May. 22, 2022 at 10:49 AM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - In May, the Evansville Police Department arrested a 17-year-old after they said he shot at a police officer May 22.

However, Wednesday, June 15 the charged was dismissed.

The attorney for the teenager told us he was mistakenly identified.

“It’s unfortunate on many levels that an innocent young man was not only accused of such a serious offense, but held in custody for several weeks for a crime that he didn’t commit,” said Attorney Barry Blackard.

Police said his charges were dropped, and another suspect has been taken into custody.

According to a press release, that suspect has been identified as 32-year-old Randall Hood. Hood was in the immediate area of the incident the morning of May 22.

Randall Hood
Randall Hood(Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office)

Officials said he was found hiding in the backyard of a home after the shots fired. Police found him and drugs on his person, but he was not believed to be the shooter at that time.

EPD said Hood was arrested that morning for dealing controlled substance/cocaine/narcotic drug. On the afternoon of Wednesday, June 15, detectives told Hood that he is being charged with attempted murder in reference to this investigation and he remains at the Vanderburgh County Confinement Center.

Evansville Police held a news conference about the case Wednesday afternoon.

We were told back in May, the incident happened around 2 a.m. at the Corner Pocket Bar.

EPD said two police officers were working off-duty at the bar when they heard shots fired outside in the 1800 block of North Fulton Avenue.

The two officers said they saw several people crowded together appearing to be fighting.

One of those officers said he saw a person with a gun in his hand.

The officer said he walked over to the person and announced himself. He said the suspect ran away from the officer as he continued to yell for him to stop.

According to the original press release, the officer chased him, and that’s when he turned and fired at least one shot at the officer. The EPD officer fired back but did not hit the suspect.

Officials said no one involved was shot, and they described the suspect as wearing a black hoodie, dark pants and white sneakers.

Officers eventually found a 17-year-old in a similar outfit and arrested him.

That teenager sat in jail accused of attempted murder until Wednesday.

“[He] was released from the Vanderburgh County Confinement Center this morning, and charges were dropped in reference to this investigation,” Sergeant Anna Gray said.

He said the lead detective reviewed surveillance footage that showed the 17-year-old had been with several other people before his arrest.

One of those men was identified as the suspect who actually shot at police.

Police said he had an emblem on his sweatshirt that had appeared in other footage of the actual suspect.

That footage has not been provided by police.

Gray said the hoodie that man was wearing was also blue when viewed in proper lighting.

The description of his clothing being similar to the 17-year-old’s led to over 24 days in jail.

When asked why it took so long for police to recognize the mistake, Gray said, “Initially, he was viewed as the suspect, and when the detective was reviewing the surveillance video this morning, that’s when he caught something.”

Police could not say whether the surveillance footage had been viewed before Wednesday.

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