11/21/2000

Internal Affairs to send prosecutors fatal shooting report

(EVANSVILLE, Ind.) -- Internal affairs investigators are scheduled today to give prosecutors the findings of their inquiry into the fatal shooting of a man who allegedly charged police with a knife.

Jerry Bottom, Jr., 27, was shot five times by police after he allegedly ignored police commands and attacked them with a butcher knife.

Capt. Bill Welcher, spokesman for the Evansville Police Department told the Courier Press that they had finished the report last Friday and would likely give it to the prosecutor's office today.

Welcher told the newspaper that his department maintains that the officers acted "appropriately" in the situation.

Bottom's family and girlfriend, Paula Austin, contend that police used excessive force, according to the Press.

The officers involved in the shooting, Brent Melton and Daniel Deeg, have both returned to duty after spending short periods on administrative leave.

"We've talked to everyone who was a potential witness, including (Bottom's) girlfriend," Welcher told the Press. "She made a statement, part of which made references to (Bottom) not behaving normally," Welcher said.

Once they receive the report prosecutors will determine whether to pursue or drop the matter.

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