INDIANAPOLIS, I.N. (WXIN) — Murder charges have been filed against an Indianapolis man accused of shooting and killing a would-be car thief at a gas station earlier this week.
Police now claim the shooting suspect showed up to the gas station driving a car that was reported stolen back in August. The woman who owned the car confirmed that account with FOX59.
At about 9:50 a.m. on Tuesday, police were called to Southeastern and South Emerson avenues in response to a report of a person shot.
Surveillance video shows a white Chevy begin to back up and a man run out of the gas station and up to the driver’s side window. Prosecutors claim the man — identified as 46 year-old Anvictor Butler — tried to stop the driver from pulling away by firing a shot into the window.
The would-be thief — identified as 30 year-old Dustin Phipps — then sped away down the street, but he didn’t get far before crashing head first into a tree. Phipps died after being shot in the chest and rushed to the hospital.
Hours later, police arrested Butler for murder.
Court records claim Butler got out of the driver’s seat of the Chevy that was parked at the gas pumps and went into the gas station. That’s when Phipps got out of a second vehicle and reportedly tried to steal the car.
Prosecutors and some legal experts explained that Butler’s action are not allowed under the law.
“We are not able to use deadly force against somebody if they’re trying to steal property,” said attorney Mario Massillamany.
Massillamany isn’t connected to the case. He said Indiana law allows people to use deadly force if they fear for their safety or the safety of others, but just like shoplifters can’t be shot to death, deadly force shouldn’t be used to prevent a car theft.
“Indiana law is here to protect everyone, and they would rather have an individual call 911 and let law enforcement apprehend the individual who stole the vehicle than have someone do vigilante justice,” said Massillamany.
After the shooting, video showed the suspect slowly walk away from the scene. Court records describe how Butler hired an attorney who contacted police, and the suspect turned himself in before being arrested for murder.
Butler remains behind bars without bond at the Marion County Jail pending trial.