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Teen shot by city officer disputes police version of incident: lawyer

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – A city teenager hurt during a police action shooting two weeks ago is frustrated about the early stages of the investigation.

That’s according to the attorney hired by the family of 19-year old Noah Busche.

Busche faces misdemeanor charges for resisting law enforcement and for illegal possession of a handgun.

His lawyer says he doesn’t think those charges fit the facts of what happened.

“He has maintained that he’s never possessed a firearm, so it’s very frustrating,” lawyer William Lebrato said.

Lebrato says Busche was shot twice, once in the hip and once in the back of the thigh.

Before, police had talked only of the wound to the hip.

14-year veteran officer Jason Fuhrman responded on July 15th to a report of a suspicious person that might be armed hanging around the back of Gateway Plaza on the northwest side of town.

Fuhrman said he saw a gun tucked in Busche’s pants and that the teen charged at him, prompting him to fire his police weapon.

“Mr. Busche’s contention is that once confronted by police he ran away, and that was it, that he never charged at police officers,” Lebrato said.

A lengthy search near the scene of the shooting by police failed to produce evidence of a handgun left behind or discarded.

“You can always armchair quarterback anything, you can always look back and say, well, I would have done this, I would have done that,” said Detective Steve Espinoza, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

The head of the local police union did not want to comment directly about this particular shooting.

Officer Fuhrman has been linked to three police action shootings and other excessive force complaints.

Espinoza says it’s unfair to look at the track record of any such officer and then second guess the officer making a split second life or death decision in the field.

“Unless you’re in his shoes and are in that moment, and doing it at that second, you just can’t…you don’t know what’s going through his mind, you don’t see what he sees,” Espinoza said.

FWPD has Indiana State Police investigate cases where a city officer employs deadly force in shooting a suspect.

The PBA says that ensures an objective review, a policy the union claims many departments around the country don’t follow.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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