Note: The videos contained in this report may be disturbing to some viewers. Discretion is advised.
The Palestine Police Department has released video taken by the officers' body cameras during the May 31 shooting of 47-year-old James D. Bushey of Elkhart.
The video of each officers' camera shows Sgt. Gabriel Green and patrol officer Kaylynn Griffin went into the restroom and found Bushey hiding in a stall.
Later in each of the videos, Bushey is escorted out of the restaurant where Green attempts to control Bushey. Griffin has her Taser gun ready to fire at Bushey when she sees a gun in his hand.
She screams “Gun! Gun! Gun!” as Green lets go of Bushey and pulls his weapon to begin firing at the suspect. Green fires eight to nine rounds, while Griffin puts her Taser away, pulls her handgun, and fires three to four shots at Bushey.
The officers attempted to seek medical attention for Bushey, but he was already dead from multiple gun shots from both officers.
Officers were alerted to the incident after a Wal-Mart employee saw Bushey try to take a case of beer from the store. Bushey then ran to the restaurant while employees followed him and called police. Officers learned later the gun Bushey pointed at them was an air gun made to look like a Colt 1911 .45 caliber handgun.
The whole incident spanned a matter of seconds as officers had to make quick decisions for the safety of those around them. Palestine Police Capt. James Muniz said that the officers followed protocol by trying to control their suspect calmly and removing him from others, then restraining him, to possibly using a Taser gun, and finally stopping the threat by using their firearms.
“This was an unfortunate incident not only for the family but also for us in the police department,” Muniz said. “People may ask the question, 'Why did the officers have to shoot so many times?' Well their adrenaline kept them shooting until they were safe. Really no officer knows how many shots they are taking until the situation is cleared.”
During the investigation officers were placed on light duty until a Anderson County grand jury met and took no action against the officers on June 25. The grand jury viewed the footage as part of its deliberations. The officers returned to full duty the following weekend.
Bushey's family members stated there was no reason for his behavior. Bushey had moved to Elkhart following a divorce and was trying to “get his life back together.” However, the family did admit that Bushey had dealt with previous alcohol problems and was in recovery. Muniz said the toxicology report has been received by the police station, but had not been released to the public.