HAMMOND, Ind. — Indiana State Police are investigating after a teenager was shot by Hammond police during the pursuit of a stolen vehicle.
The shooting happened just before 9 a.m. Wednesday at 176th and Jefferson streets in Hammond. Video from the scene showed a white SUV with a shattered window and bullet holes.
Indiana State Police Sgt. Rick Strong confirmed the suspect was under the age of 18, and was struck in the head.
Relatives identified the teen as 15-year-old DeAvion Ashley. His family said he was not armed and said he was "fleeing the scene in an obvious attempt to get away and not harm any pursuing Hammond officers."
The owner of the SUV, Lyntoi Hester, spoke to WGN News about the incident. She said she’s not sure if she locked her car, but she had an extra pair of keys inside.
“I’m sorry that it happened, that it resulted in that, but you took the car. You didn't stop,” Hester said.
She said her white Chevy Equinox was stolen Wednesday morning and she was outside her home talking to a Hammond police officer when she saw the SUV drive by.
“I just froze and he said, ‘Are you OK?’ and I said, ‘No that’s my car.’ He said, ‘Are you sure?’ And the police ran to his car, and he sped off," she said.
In a written statement, Indiana State Police said the officers involved in the incident were two African American men and one Hispanic man.
“The decision to release information about the identity and current status of the Hammond Police Officers involved will be made by the Hammond Police Department at the conclusion of the investigation,” state police said.
Chicago activist Demetrius Nash is Ashley’s cousin. Nash said police used unwarranted deadly force and he is demanding authorities release any footage related to the shooting.
"He was not a man, he was a child running not to get in trouble. He was shot at six times and one of the bullets actually hit him," Nash said.
Nash said Ashley is responsive and recovering at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital. His family is praying he will make a full recovery.
Indiana State Police continue to investigate.