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Jeffersonville Police: Man requested mental health evaluation day before he was shot by police

Police said of the five officers, three shot the man after which point they performed life-saving measures on him.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A family member of a man shot by Jeffersonville Police Thursday night said he suffers from PTSD.

The family member identified the man as Robert Atkins, a military veteran who they said served in Afghanistan.

At a press conference on Friday, Jeffersonville Police Chief Kenny Kavanaugh said they are conducting an internal investigation into the shooting.

Kavanaugh said around 7 p.m. police were called to an apartment complex on East Eight Street on reports of a man walking around the complex with a gun.

When officers arrived, he said the man shot in the air multiple times and then pointed the gun at them.

Kavanaugh said of the five officers on the scene, three shot the man after which point they performed life-saving measures on him. 

Police said he is at UofL Hospital and no other apartment residents were hurt.    

Kavanaugh said the action was deliberate and put everyone, including residents, in danger. 

"When you start discharging that around, pointing that at police officers, that clearly escalates that situation," he said. "There's not many alternatives that we can apply. This is not an outcome that we want."

The day before the shooting, Kavanaugh said officers encountered the man experiencing another mental health crisis.

Around 9 a.m., Jeffersonville Police received a call regarding "suspicious activity." The caller told police that the man was parked in the 2000 block of Allison Lane and was "acting erratic" inside of a vehicle.

He said the man came to Faith Lutheran Church to request a mental evaluation. Officers said he was partially clothed and acting abnormal. After speaking with the man, officers called an ambulance, and he went to Clark Memorial Hospital for a voluntary mental evaluation.  

Credit: Bobbi McSwine, WHAS11

Sandy Keene lives there and saw it unfold.

"I looked back out again and then it looked like some fireworks at the apartment next door," she said.

Keene has a bullet hole in her windshield. She said she was glad the bullets didn't come into her home, and she hopes for the best for her neighbor.

"I've been praying for him so I just hope he can pull though somehow," Keene said.

Kavanaugh said all five officers received a temporary assignment with unrestricted administrative leave.

He said there is body camera video and it will be made available "as soon as possible." 

"Jeffersonville Police Department will be conducting an internal investigation to check out policies and procedures that were engaged while the officers took the actions that they did," Kavanaugh said.

There is also a criminal investigation being made by Indiana State Police.

Major Isaac Parker said Jeffersonville Police has the man's identity, but they haven't released it yet. He said it will be "best" if it comes from ISP.

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