Formal charges have
been filed against the man who the Porter County Sheriff’s Police said
pointed a handgun at an officer on Monday while fleeing the scene of a
motorcycle crash, prompting the officer to discharge his own service weapon.
Pizzuto, 31, of 23 Covington Drive in Liberty Township, has been charged
with intimidation, pointing a firearm, resisting law enforcement with a
vehicle, and criminal recklessness.
He was taken into
custody at his residence in the Fox Chase Farms subdivision early Monday
According to the
probable cause affidavit filed by the PCSP, at 1:16 a.m. the PCSP officer
was on patrol in the area of U.S. Highway 6 and C.R. 200W when he observed a
motorcyclist on an orange sport-style motorcycle traveling eastbound on U.S.
6 at 81 miles per hour. The officer initiated a pursuit, following the
motorcyclist northbound on Meridian Road, westbound on C.R. 1050N, then
crossing Ind. 149 into the City of Portage on Lenburg Road, where the
motorcyclist failed to negotiate a curve and crashed into a street sign on
the south side of the road, police said.
At this point the
motorcyclist “stood up and began running north toward a wooded area,” police
said. “(The officer) observed the offender reach into his waistband and
begin to draw what he believed to be a black semi-automatic pistol. The
offender then produced the firearm from his waistband and began to raise it
behind him in the direction of (the officer), while continuing to flee
toward the wooded area.”
“Fearing for his
life, and the safety of (a Burns Harbor Police officer) who had arrived at
the scene, “(the officer) drew his department-issued firearm and discharged
his weapon in an attempt to cease the immediate threat to his life,” police
however, succeeded in evading apprehension. A K-9 unit responding to the
scene later found a black Springfield XDS semi-automatic pistol abandoned in
the wooded area, police said.
In the course of
their investigation, officers contacted the orange motorcycle’s registered
owner, who advised that he had sold it to another man. That other man
advised that, six months ago, he had sold it in turn to an ironworker at
ArcelorMittal identified as “Shawn,” police said.
In the meantime, a
Valparaiso Police officer investigating the report of gunshots fired near
the Eagle Ridge subdivision in Liberty Township just prior to the motorcycle
pursuit--followed “by the distinct sound of a sport-style motorcycle
engine’s accelerating at a high rate of speed”--had occasion to make contact
with the occupants of a black Dodge Charger, police said.
investigation determined that the Charger’s occupants, two women, are
acquaintances of Shawn Pizzuto and had actually been following him on his
motorcycle just prior to the initiation of the officer’s pursuit, police
said. The driver of the Charger also advised that, while in the area of U.S.
6 and C.R. 200W, she “observed Shawn pull a firearm from his person and fire
several rounds recklessly in the air while driving his orange motorcycle,”
Then, in reviewing
Pizzuto’s Facebook page, an investigator observed “a picture matching the
wrecked orange motorcycle” as well as “a photo of a black Springfield XDS
semi-automatic pistol,” police said.
attempted to make contact with Pizzuto at his registered address, got no
answer there, but remained on the scene until, at 5:30 a.m., a subject
“matching the descriptors of Shawn Pizzuto” was dropped off at the home by
an SUV, police said. Pizzuto entered the residence and, after an ERT
responded to the address and phone contact was made with him, he surrendered
himself without incident, police said.
A search warrant
was subsequently obtained and served at the residence, where investigators
found “the original gun box for the Springfield XDS” and “wet dirty clothing
matching the description of clothes worn by the offender in the pursuit,”
transported for questioning to the PCSP department and later charged.
The Indiana State
Police, tasked with investigating the officer-involved shooting, said on
Monday that it should complete the investigation this week and will then
forward its report to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for review.