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FWPD identify man shot by officer

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) -- A Fort Wayne policeman is on administrative leave, after shooting a suspect who reportedly shot at the officers trying to arrest him.

We spoke with the wife of a Good Samaritan who jumped into the thick of things to help both the officers and the wounded suspect.

"Somebody yelling 'Get down, get down, get down.' And we turned around and seen police officers chasing a man that was running straight towards our direction," Sherry Chilidonia said.

Chilidonia and her active duty Army husband had stopped at the Cracker Barrel on Washington Center to pick up dinner on their trip across the Midwest when they saw officers chasing 43-year-old Lance Morningstar.

The officer who fired his gun is on administrative leave and will be interviewed 72 hours later in order for him to mentally process what happened.

She said she heard one or two shots then saw Morningstar trip and fall and continue firing shots at police, one of whom shot back.

"When you're shooting a gun at officers who are trying to put you into custody, those bullets are flying somewhere. And when there's officers around it's going to strike, if not an officer, a bystander. So any time you're firing a weapon indiscriminately, that is a threat to those officers making that arrest or a bystander," said FWPD's Sgt. Sofia Rosales-Scatena.

Chilidonia said that's when her husband who trained as a military police officer stepped up.

"My husband was then able to identify his self and ask if they needed any assistance. They said 'We do, please get over here,'" she said.

Police say crime scene technicians recovered a non-police gun at the scene.

Detectives interviewed dozens of witnesses and are reviewing surveillance videos for evidence.

As standard procedure, the state police are conducting their own investigation into the shooting, as well.

The officer who fired his gun is on administrative leave and will be interviewed 72 hours later in order for him to mentally process what happened.

He will not be cleared to return to duty until he's seen a psychologist to evaluate his stress levels.

"It's hard on our families, it's hard on us as a department as well as no matter who is on the other end of that gunfire. It's still hard on their families no matter who they are or what they've done," Rosales-Scatena said.

Chilidonia says she's been praying for Morningstar.

"Maybe this situation he can come out of this, and I'm praying that he does come through it okay, and that he has a chance to reevaluate his life and maybe turn some things around," she said.

Lance Morningstar has a lengthy criminal record with felony charges dating back nearly 20 years.

At last report, he remained in critical condition and new charges against him are pending.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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