The Valparaiso Police officer whose discharged rifle bullet ricocheted and
killed a woman on April 10 in an apparent hostage crisis was justified in
shooting and will not be charged, the Porter County Prosecuting Attorney’s
Office said in a statement released today.
Marilyn B. Stephens, 74, of 1210 Fairlane St., died of a gunshot wound at
Porter hospital after Officer Daniel Koepke fired at Stephen’s ex-husband,
Timothy P. Stephens, 55, and his bullet ricocheted off a vehicle parked
between Koepke and Timothy Stephens.
Timothy Stephens was armed at the time and threatening to kill his ex-wife,
said the Porter County Sheriff’s Police, which was tasked with investigating
On April 27 the PCSP submitted its report to the Prosecuting Attorney’s
Office. “After reviewing the report, Prosecuting Attorney Brian Gensel
determined that the actions by Officer Koepke in attempting to use deadly
force against Timothy Stephens were justified under the circumstances and
that the death of Marilyn Stephens due to a ricochet was an unintended and
tragic consequence of the otherwise legally justified action,” the statement
The VPD had responded to the scene after a relative called 911 and advised
the dispatcher that Timothy Stephens was threatening to kill Marilyn Stephens
and that he might be armed with a handgun. Officers arrived at the scene
around 7:05 p.m., determined that a possible hostage situation was in
progress, and secured the perimeter. A short time later Koepke made contact
with Marilyn Stephens as she opened the door and instructed her to move away
from the home.
At this point, the PCSP said, Timothy Stephens came to the door, armed with a
handgun, and made several death threats against his ex-wife and police. He
was then reported to have pointed his handgun in a threatening manner and
Koepke responded by firing two rounds at him, the PCSP said.
Marilyn Stephens was seen to fall to the ground, and as Timothy Stephens was
fleeing back into the residence officers picked her up, carried her away, and
then discovered that she had been shot in the chest. She was rushed to Porter
hospital but later pronounced dead.
Timothy Stephens subsequently surrendered to officers of the Porter County
SWAT Team, who found several loaded weapons at the scene. He has been charged
with criminal confinement, a Class B felony punishable by a term of six to 20
years in prison; intimidation, a Class C felony, punishable by a term of two
to eight years; and domestic battery, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a
term of up to a year.