11/30/2007

Suspect assaults Ind. officer with SUV; officer fires, hits passenger

The Associated Press

GARY, Ind. — A police officer who was hit by a sport-utility vehicle fired his gun at the fleeing vehicle, apparently hitting a passenger who fled the scene but later turned up at a hospital seeking treatment for a gunshot wound, authorities said.

Officer Robert Hemphill shot Jason Stewart, 20, on Wednesday after a Chevrolet Blazer bumped Hemphill and hit his squad car as it fled a traffic stop near a public housing development, Gary police Cmdr. Samuel Roberts said.

“The officer, fearing for his safety, fired at the vehicle,” Roberts said.

The SUV continued driving away from the traffic stop and hit a fire hydrant and a tree, and Stewart and another man ran from the vehicle. Hemphill wasn’t hurt.

Less than an hour later, Stewart arrived at a local hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest and authorities were notified.

Stewart faces charges of fleeing and battery to law enforcement and other charges.

Lake County police are investigating the shooting, and Cmdr. Shaw Spurlock said his investigators would examine the SUV.

Hospital officials said they could not give information on Stewart’s condition. The Associated Press left messages seeking comment on his condition with Gary police on Thursday.

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