Police kill man, 36, after holding child hostage

Mugshot of Joseph Schroeder, courtesy of Allen County Sheriff's Department.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A man who took a young child hostage has died after being shot by police early Friday morning.

Mugshot of Joseph Schroeder, courtesy of Allen County Sheriff's Department.
Mugshot of Joseph Schroeder, courtesy of Allen County Sheriff’s Department.

The incident began when officers were called to 5328 Stony Run Lane shortly after 11 p.m. Thursday for a reported disturbance. Fort Wayne Police spokesman Officer Chris Felton said officers found a man was inside the home holding a child hostage and possibly armed with a knife. A woman also inside the home was able to get out.

The first arriving officers tried to talk with the man get him out of the house, but he refused.

Due to the situation, the FWPD’s Crisis Response and Emergency Services teams were called at 11:58 p.m.

Negotiators attempted to make contact with the man and initially did so through text messages. That communication stopped and police threw a phone into the home that allowed for direct between the man and negotiators. However, the man refused to answer the phone.

A man held a boy hostage on Stony Run Lane for more than five hours.
A man held a boy hostage on Stony Run Lane for more than five hours.

The department then used its armored rescue vehicle. Officers communicated via loudspeaker, lights and a loud horn in an attempt to get the man to exit the house. Eventually the man started speaking with negotiators on a different phone that was put in the house.

Around 4:50 a.m. Friday, Felton said the man made statements over the phone that forced the hand of EST members.

Officers stormed the house, and according to Felton, saw the man standing over the child with what police described as “two large-edged weapons.” Officers shot the man and rushed the child out of the home.

The man was taken to the hospital in critical condition where he later died. The child was not hurt.

The man was identified as 36-year-old Joseph S. Schroeder. The Allen County Coroner’s Office said Schroeder died of gunshot wounds and ruled his death the county’s 38th homicide of 2016.

Police confirmed Schroeder and the woman lived in the house together. It’s not clear, though, if both are parents to the child.

The Indiana State Police will run a parallel investigation with FWPD. The officers who entered the home and the negotiators will be placed on a 5-day administrative leave, per department policy.

Officer Anthony Shefferly, 9 years of service and Officer Cameron Morris, 6 years of service both fired shots and were placed on a 5-day paid administrative leave, per department policy. Felton could not provide information about how many shots were fired, or how many times Schroeder was struck by gunfire.

In July, police were called to the same address for a similar situation. Schroeder had taken a child hostage with a large knife. After 3 hours, he surrendered to police without incident. He was previously facing several felony charges due to the incident.