Prosecutor’s report details shooting


The Beech Grove man shot and killed by police investigating a shoplifting report in Seymour on Nov. 1, 2020, may have wanted to commit suicide by a cop and was high on methamphetamine, investigators report.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jeff Chalfant released a 20-page report Friday detailing the incident that left Jason S. Cline dead after he was shot 10 times by Seymour Police Department officers Blake McCrary and Cody Teltow.

Chalfant said McCrary and Teltow were justifiable in the defense of themselves and each other, and no criminal liability was to be brought against them in connection with Cline’s death.

During the attempt to arrest Cline in a deep ditch in the 1500 block of East Tipton Street, McCrary fired nine shots at him and knocked him to the ground, investigators reported.

When Cline tried getting back up, both McCrary and Teltow fired four shots nearly simultaneously.

An Indiana State Police crime scene investigator recovered a Smith and Wesson .40-caliber pistol from the water from the stream that Cline fell into in the ditch.

That gun, which was loaded with four bullets, had been reported stolen by a relative of Cline in the months leading up to his death.

Seventeen spent 9 mm shell casings that came from McCrary and Teltow’s firearms also were recovered.

Chalfant said Cline was not shot by police because he had shoplifted but because he drew and pointed a loaded handgun at the officers as they were trying to apprehend him.

Chalfant said the officers did not have an opportunity to de-escalate the situation, and the evidence showed Cline turned the altercation into a deadly encounter.

A toxicological sample taken from Cline showed he tested positive for THC and a high level of methamphetamine that was within the low-end range of a potentially fatal amount, according to the report.

During the investigation conducted by detectives with the Indiana State Police Versailles Post, a friend of Cline told police he had said before that he would commit suicide by cop before going back to prison.

Cline was considered a serious violent felon due to a prior armed robbery conviction. If convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, a Level 4 felony, he would have faced two to 12 years in prison. He also faced a second prison sentence due to possessing a stolen firearm.

The state police forwarded the case to Chalfant in December 2020.

Chalfant said he looked at forensic and photographic evidence obtained from the scene of the incident, officer body camera videos, a cellphone video, diagrams, reports, autopsy findings and his personal view of the incident scene “to compare and put into context witness and officer statements to make a determination in this review.”

The night of the incident, Cline had stolen approximately $700 of merchandise from Walmart Supercenter, 1600 E. Tipton St.

With a cart full of stolen merchandise, Cline kept walking out of the store even after being confronted by store employees, investigators said. He went across the parking lot toward the Murphy USA gas station, then on to the Speedway gas station.

McCrary was dispatched to the scene, and Teltow heard the dispatch and went to assist McCrary since he was near Walmart.

While searching Murphy USA, McCrary saw Cline pushing a shopping cart.

Cline ran across Tipton Street when he saw Teltow pull into Speedway, police said.

After a foot pursuit across the street, Cline fell down a ditch located between Tipton Street and Taco Bell. Teltow said he followed Cline down the embankment and attempted to gain control of his arms and hands to handcuff him.

When wrestling with Cline, Teltow’s clip-on body camera was knocked off of his uniform. McCrary was not wearing his body camera that day.

McCrary soon caught up to Cline and Teltow in the ditch and threatened to use his taser if Cline didn’t show his right hand that was tucked under his body.

When Teltow was wrestling with Cline, he was able to lift him from the ground enough for McCrary to see a handgun in his right hand. Cline kept looking to his left toward Teltow and pointed the handgun toward his face.

Teltow yelled “gun” and attempted to disarm Cline but only briefly had the firearm not in the direction of the officers and was unsuccessful. Cline pointed the gun at the officers again, and McCrary drew his handgun in favor of his taser.

Cline was wearing a coat at the time that would have made an attempt at tasing ineffective, investigators report.

Cline was treated at the scene and then taken to Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, where he died from sustained injuries.

Audio from Teltow’s camera, video from a responding officer’s body camera and photographs taken by Indiana State Police crime scene investigators were used during the investigation of this incident.

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