New Albany police shooting

Officers were dispatched to the scene on South Bohannon Lane in New Albany just after 1 p.m. on April 6, 2019, to conduct a welfare check when the suspect fired at officers. (WDRB Photo)

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- An investigation finds that a fatal shooting involving a New Albany Police officer in early April was "justified." 

On Friday, the Floyd County Prosecutor's Office released the results of an investigation by Indiana State Police.  The investigation determined the officer was justified in shooting and killing 36-year-old Benjamin Lucas.

The shooting happened April 6. That's when officers were called to the 100 block of S. Bohannan Lane in New Albany to perform a welfare check on someone believed to be suicidal. 

"Shortly after they arrived, they heard a gunshot from within the residence," said Sgt. Carey Huls, Indiana State Police Sellersburg Post.

ISP investigators say after hearing gunshots, they surrounded the home and contacted Lucas by phone.

Sgt. Huls said, "He did know that the officers were there and he did fire upon them."

Lucas then fired two rounds through the front door of the home, according to police. New Albany Police Officer James Gardner returned fire, and Lucas was hit. 

Officers tried to help him before an ambulance arrived. Lucas was taken to University Hospital in Louisville where he was pronounced dead. 

After reviewing the ISP investigation, prosecutors say Officer Gardner's "use of deadly force was justified."

"They're the ones that make the call on whether it's justified or not justified, and in this case, they did make the call that it was a justified shooting for self-defense or police action shooting," explained Sgt. Huls.

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