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City police absolved in deadly shooting

Sniper fire justified to end felon’s siege, prosecutor declares

– Three months after Fort Wayne police fatally shot Kenneth Knight inside a south-side home, Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards declared the shooting justified.

Knight, 45, holed up inside a house in the 3000 block of Holton Avenue just before noon March 20. About four hours earlier, Knight pulled 49-year-old Jacqueline Bouvier Hardy off a Citilink bus and shot her in the face with a shotgun, according to police.

The day before she was killed, Hardy obtained a protective order against Knight, but there was no evidence he had been served a copy.

Knight, who had arrests for burglary, resisting law enforcement and dealing cocaine, had just been released from prison about a year ago after serving a 10-year sentence for possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.

After shooting Hardy at the corner of Reed Street and East Pettit Avenue, Knight fled on foot through the neighborhoods, triggering a manhunt across the city.

As Fort Wayne police SWAT officers surrounded the Holton Avenue home where police believed Knight was hiding, at least two people fled the home and left behind an older woman and a 3-year-old child. The older woman later left the home, leaving Knight alone with the child.

Police made contact with Knight, and he spoke with hostage negotiators, his family and his pastor. But after Knight’s continued refusal to come out of the house or surrender the child, police snipers took positions near the house.

About 4:30 p.m., police snipers Keith W. Wallace and Martin P. Grooms fired simultaneously, killing Knight.

The shooting was investigated by the Indiana State Police, the Fort Wayne Police Department and the prosecutor’s office.

In a release issued Tuesday morning, Richards said she had determined “no charges will be filed as a result, and that the officers involved were justified in using deadly force” against Knight.

rgreen@jg.net

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