HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WANE) — A man shot and killed by Huntington police as he operated a backhoe early Sunday morning never fired at officers, Indiana State Police said Friday.
State police said in an update Friday afternoon that there was no “exchange of gunfire” between 36-year-old Matthew T. Melzoni of Wabash and officers just after 3:30 a.m., as originally reported by authorities. Melzoni was fatally shot by police, and a Huntington Police officer was hurt by gunfire in the incident.
Police were called to the area of Schultz Drive and Etna Avenue because someone was destroying property with a backhoe. When police arrived, the suspect – identified later as Melzoni – pulled away in the backhoe, and led officers on a 15-20 minute pursuit around the neighborhood and onto the Horace Mann Elementary and Riverside Middle School campus, where he “continued causing damage to private and public property,” state police said.
State police said at the time that “during the course of this pursuit an exchange of gunfire took place, resulting in the injury of one Huntington police officer, and the death of the adult male suspect.”
In an update Friday, state police said “there was no exchange of gunfire.” Rather, the responding officers felt Melzoni’s “conduct with the backhoe rendered him an imminent danger to both police officers and civilians.”
It’s not clear how the Huntington Police officer reportedly injured by gunfire was struck. He suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
State police said the investigation was ongoing, but the case was expected to be turned over to prosecutors within the “next few days.”
Huntington County Prosecutor Amy Richison has recused herself from the investigation, and Whitley County Prosecutor D.J. Sigler has been assigned to serve as special prosecutor.
No other information was released.