Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, will stay off the presidential campaign trail at least through Wednesday to deal with a fatal officer-involved shooting in his city, his campaign told NBC News.
Buttigieg’s 2020 campaign said Monday that he has canceled a trip to California on Tuesday and Wednesday that was going to include a series of fundraisers and a policy roll-out, and will remain in South Bend to respond to the shooting, which happened early Sunday.
Buttigieg had already canceled a scheduled appearance at the Democratic National Committee’s LGBTQ Gala in New York on Monday, which his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, planned to attend instead, according to the campaign.
Just after 3 a.m. Sunday, South Bend police responded to a suspicious person they later said was believed to be going through cars at an apartment complex, NBC affiliate WDNU reported. When an officer engaged with the suspect, 53-year-old Eric Jack Logan, Logan allegedly approached the officer with a knife. The officer then fired at Logan, who was taken to a hospital and soon after pronounced dead. The officer was treated for minor injuries.
According to CBS affiliate WSBT, the shooting is now under an independent investigation and the officer, who has yet to be named, was placed on paid administrative leave, which is protocol during an investigation.
At a Sunday night news conference alongside other South Bend administrative leaders, Buttigieg said city officials “will be striving to reach out to community members” and asked that anyone with information provide it to authorities, CBS affiliate WSBT reported.
“One of the reasons we’re communicating upfront right now is because of lessons learned from members of the community,” Buttigieg said. “We’ve had prior cases of use-of-force incidents and officer-involved shootings where I hesitated, frankly, to get in front of cameras because we didn’t know very much and it was out of our hands. But what I learned, what I was told by people in the community is it’s important to open channels of communication.”
Buttigieg met privately with Logan’s family on Sunday night, his wife, Shafonia Logan, told NBC News on Monday.
Speaking at a separate news conference Sunday, Logan’s family said they’re waiting for answers.
“The incident is not adding up,” Logan’s brother, Clifford Bonds, said, according to The South Bend Tribune. “All we can do is wait. He got five kids, a wife, a mother, nieces, nephews, everybody, brothers and sisters, trying to figure out what’s going on. And the story they’re giving, everybody in the family knows that’s not him, so that just makes it worse.”
Shafonia Logan said she wants to know why her husband was taken to the hospital in a police car instead of an ambulance and if there is body camera footage of the incident.
“I just have a lot of questions,” she said, according The South Bend Tribune, adding: “I don’t know what happened or what they say, with breaking in a car. Was that justified for you to shoot and kill him about breaking in a car?”
The incident comes amid already-high tensions in South Bend over policing. Earlier in Buttigieg’s term, he demoted the city’s first black police chief, Darryl Boykins, who had ordered the taping of phone calls of senior police officers he alleged made racist comments about him. Buttigieg said he demoted Boykins because he failed to disclose that the FBI was investigating him for inappropriately wiretapping subordinates. The demotion sparked a wave of criticism from the city’s black community.
Boykins sued the city after his 2012 demotion, alleging racial discrimination and saying the taping scandal was used as a pretext for his ouster. Meanwhile, the South Bend Common Council has pushed to make public the secretly recorded tapes of police officers allegedly making racist comments.
Adam Edelman contributed.