Jay County Prosecutor Makes Statement in Officer-Involved Shooting



At the request of the Jay County Prosecutor, the following official statement is being released regarding his review of the Indiana State Police investigation of the Dunkirk Police Department officer-involved shooting incident that occurred on March 3, 2022


 

On March 3, 2022, Dunkirk Police Chief Dane Mumbower and Officer Erica Post were

dispatched to 223 Mount Auburn St., Dunkirk, Indiana. The nature of the call was that Kevin

Zimmerman believed that someone was trying to harm him. Upon arrival at the residence, the

officers determined that the house was locked. Dunkirk Dispatch relayed to the officers that

someone inside the residence called to report that Kevin Zimmerman was armed with two

different knives. A relative on the scene advised that Kevin Zimmerman may have been

suffering from some sort of mental health issue. During the encounter, Chief Mumbower and

Officer Post fired shots at Kevin Zimmerman resulting in his death.



After an investigation by the Indiana State Police, it has been determined that Chief Mumbower

and Officer Post were justified in using deadly force against Kevin Zimmerman. Investigators

from the Indiana State Police interviewed ten different witnesses and collected extensive forensic

evidence from the scene. The Dunkirk Police Department does not utilize body-worn cameras, so

there was no ‘body cam’ footage to review.



Some relevant details of the State Police investigation:

• Kevin Zimmerman refused all commands to exit the home. Chief Mumbower and Officer

Post knocked on the door multiple times and announced themselves as police officers.

The officers did not receive a response to a request that Kevin Zimmerman open the door.

Knowing that Kevin Zimmerman was armed with two knives and not knowing the status

of the safety of the other occupants of the home, the officers determined that they needed

to enter the home

• After breaching the door, Chief Mumbower, who was armed with his Taser, entered first

and Officer Post followed behind with her duty weapon drawn. The officers announced

themselves as police officers after entering the home and Chief Mumbower heard Kevin

Zimmerman respond by saying “OK, OK, come on in”, although neither officer could see

where Kevin Zimmerman was located. The officers began to command Kevin

Zimmerman to come out and show his hands.

• As Chief Mumbower continued his entry into the home, he observed Kevin Zimmerman

crouching down in the kitchen area of the home. Chief Mumbower made eye contact with

Kevin Zimmerman and asked Kevin to come out and talk to the officers. Kevin

Zimmerman then immediately leaped up from his position and came running toward

Chief Mumbower with both arms raised and a knife in his hand. The knife was a large

butcher knife with an 8-inch blade.

• As Chief Mumbower began to retreat, Kevin Zimmerman was on top of him. Chief

Mumbower deployed his taser at Kevin and it had no effect. Kevin tackled Chief

Mumbower into a corner of the room and wrapped his arms around Chief Mumbower and

began striking Chief Mumbower in the back with his hands and arms. Chief Mumbower

believed that he was being stabbed by the knife that he saw in Kevin’s hand.

• After knocking Chief Mumbower to the floor, Kevin Zimmerman immediately began

attacking Officer Post, knocking her to the floor and began slashing at her back. At this

time, both Chief Mumbower and Officer Post fired their service weapons at Kevin

Zimmerman as they were in fear that their lives were in danger. Officer Post and other

responding officers attempted to provide aid to Kevin Zimmerman, including CPR.

Despite those efforts and those of the emergency responders, Kevin Zimmerman was

pronounced deceased at the scene. The autopsy of Kevin Zimmerman found that he had

been shot four times and the cause of his death was multiple gunshot wounds.

• Chief Mumbower received a deep knife wound to his hand that required medical

attention. Officer Post received minor puncture wounds and small cuts and abrasions that

did not require medical attention.



Indiana Code 35-41-3-2 provides that a person is justified in using deadly force against another

person and does not have a duty to retreat if the person reasonably believes that deadly force is

necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to the person or a third person. That statue further

provides that no person, employer, or estate of a person in this State shall be placed in legal

jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting the person or a third person by all reasonably

necessary means.


Also, under Indiana law, a police officer may make entry into a home without a warrant if there

are exigent circumstances present to justify the entry. Indiana law provides that concern or the

fear for the safety of the occupants of the home is justified to prevent harm to the occupants of

the home.

In this particular case, were justified in entering into the home: a caller from inside the home had

notified police that Kevin Zimmerman was armed with two knives and was refusing to leave the

home. The officers were told that Kevin Zimmerman was suffering from a mental health issue

and he refused to their commands to come out of the home.


Upon entering the home, despite the officers identifying themselves as police and giving

commands to Kevin Zimmerman to come out and show his hands, Kevin charged at Chief

Mumbower armed with a knife and tackled him to the floor. He then slashed at the Chief’s back

with the knife. After knocking the Chief to the floor, Kevin turned to Officer Post and began

attacking her armed with the knife. Both Officer Post and Chief Mumbower stated they feared

not only for their own lives, but for the life of each other when they fired their weapons at Kevin

Zimmerman. In fact, Officer Post believed that Chief Mumbower might have already been dead

after having been tackled to floor and seeing Kevin Zimmerman slashing at the Chief’s back

with the knife. Under these facts and circumstances, both officers were justified in using deadly

force against Kevin Zimmerman as they had a belief that deadly force was necessary to prevent

serious injury or death and other non-lethal methods were employed that were ineffective.

Determining that the officers were justified in using deadly force does not dimmish the tragedy

of the loss of human life my sincere condolences go out to Kevin Zimmerman’s family and

friends for that loss. I appreciate the public’s patience in awaiting the outcome of this

investigation. Additionally, I would like to thank the Indiana State Police for their thorough

and professional investigation.



 

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