The gunfire was over almost as soon as it started.
One minute, the man was talking with people inside a red car.
The next, police said, he began shooting — prompting two officers to jump from an unmarked police car nearby, guns at the ready.
When the man didn’t comply with police commands, the officers fired.
Suspect down. Incident over.
The operation early Tuesday in the 1300 block of West Pruitt Street wasn’t like others the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has conducted in the past. This time, the responding officers were not from the department’s patrol units.
They were members of IMPD’s new full-time SWAT force — a tactical change that is here to stay, Chief Rick Hite said.
“It’s a more direct approach to support the mission of the district commanders in each of the districts they’re assigned to,” Hite said. “They’re targeting those violent offenders in those areas where we have violent crime.”
In the past, the city’s SWAT team operated on a callout basis, suiting up specifically to deal with dangerous situations such as crowd violence or armed suspects barricaded inside buildings.
The full-time SWAT team, with about a dozen members, has a different mission: to seek out and neutralize violent offenders . . .Because this SWAT team is operating under cover, the SWAT team members ride in unmarked cars and are not wearing uniforms. The covert SWAT team was operating in this particular area on that given night because of reports of shots being fired in recent days. Disis' report says that full-time SWAT teams of this sort are out of the ordinary in police departments across the country, but they are "a staple in some of the nation's biggest cities, such as Chicago, New York and Los Angeles." Her report notes that such efforts have been criticized by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, which argues that some police departments are becoming too militarized and adopt a "warrior mentality," seeing the people they serve as the enemy. It looks like there's no need for any Paul Kerseys in Indianapolis as long as this SWAT team is here to stay.