A Louisville police officer has been placed on administrative leave after shooting an unarmed man who tried to hide while officers searched an abandoned house.
Officer Sarah Stumler and two fellow officers were searching the house after receiving reports that a man had entered the building after using drugs outside. The video shows Stumler search behind an old mattress standing against the wall, where 38-year-old Bruce Warrick is hiding.
Stumler commands Warrick to “show me your hands” and immediately fires one shot, hitting Warrick in the gut.
The officers handcuff Warrick and begin to administer emergency care. He is currently in critical condition after undergoing surgery to remove part of his intestines and pancreas, according to the Courier-Journal.
Warrick was not carrying a weapon, though it is impossible to tell from the video. No weapons were found at the scene.
The Kentucky Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office is currently evaluating the evidence to determine if further investigation is needed or if criminal charges will be filed.
After they’ve made their recommendation, the Louisville Metro Police will conduct an internal Professional Standards Unit investigation to determine if any departmental policies were violated.
Police policy states that deadly force can be used when officers act in defense of themselves or another and reasonably believe that the subject poses an immediate threat of death or serious physical injury.
Police Chief Steve Conrad said he is reserving judgment until the completion of that internal investigation.
Warrick’s family plans to sue the Louisville Metro Police Department, according to WLKY News.
Stumler has been subject to two disciplinary actions since she joined the force in 2009. She’s also received 12 commendations from the police department and from citizens, praising her for her service and her demeanor.
Activist Christopher 2X spoke on behalf of Warrick’s family at the hospital where Warrick is receiving care. He said that the family knew about Warrick’s drug habit, but that he “was enrolled in substance-abuse classes.”
“What his mother and grandmother have told me about him is that he had trouble with substance abuse but he was a very passive individual,” 2X said. “It was not uncommon when he was depressed or anything like that to go to abandoned houses and sleep there.”
The shooting took place at 11:30 am on Wednesday, March 3, and the video was released the next day.
Unlike other high-profile incidents of police-involved shootings of unarmed black men, no protests or riots have taken place in Louisville thus far.