ISP: North Manchester police officer shoots, kills suspect during traffic stop

Law enforcement officers investigate a fatal officer-involved shooting on S.R. 114 in North Manchester on Mar. 6, 2018.

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. (WANE) – A man is dead after being shot by a police officer during a traffic stop in North Manchester Tuesday night, according to Indiana State Police.

ISP Spokesman Sgt. Tony Slocum said North Manchester Police Officer Parker Stouffer pulled over a pickup truck for a “traffic infraction” around 6 p.m. The vehicle pulled into the parking lot of The Eel River Inn on State Road 114 near S.R. 13.

North Manchester is approximately 40 miles west of Fort Wayne.

North Manchester Police Chief Jim Kirk said Stouffer was working for “Operation Pullover,” a law enforcement campaign paid through a grant that allows for extra patrols.

At the time of the stop, two additional North Manchester police officers were in the area and pulled behind Stouffer.

State police said the suspect, identified as Michael Kline, 40, North Manchester, did something that led the officer to fire several shots. At least one shot struck Kline and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Kirk said Wednesday in a press release that Kline pointed a gun at officers.

State police said officers and paramedics tried to revive Kline, but were unsuccessful.

Kirk said Stouffer was wearing a body cam, but it was covered up by his jacket. State police investigators are reviewing video from the police car’s dashcam. It’s not clear if the other two officers captured anything on camera.

NewsChannel 15 spotted what appeared to be a handgun near Kline’s body next to his pickup truck.

Stouffer was not hurt during the incident and has been placed on administrative leave, per department policy. Kirk said Stouffer will remain off-duty until the Wabash County Prosecutor reviews the state police investigation. If Stouffer is cleared of wrongdoing and determined fit, he will be permitted to return to active duty.

A chaotic scene is etched in the mind of Robert Frantz, who lives directly across the street from The Eel River Inn.

“I just barely got in the house and I heard some gunshots,” he said. “At least two of them. Then I also heard… it sounds like a woman’s voice, screaming. Right after that I heard a dog barking. Probably a police dog I assume.”

Slocum said investigators do not have many of those answers. They are required to wait 48 hours before interviewing the officer involved.

“Studies have shown that officers can better recall of the event, especially a traumatic event like a shooting, when they’ve had time to decompress,” said Slocum.

North Manchester employs 11 full-time police officers in the town of approximately 6,100 people.

Kirk said officers in North Manchester had previously encountered Kline, but he did not elaborate under what circumstances.

Kirk said, to the best of his knowledge, there has never before been a fatal officer-involved shooting in North Manchester.

The incident is under investigation.