Five officers on paid leave after fatal officer-involved shooting in Valparaiso

Three police officers from the Valparaiso Police Department and two with the Porter County Sheriff’s Office are on paid administrative leave after an officer-involved shooting last week in which the suspect later died at the hospital.

Indiana State Police’s Lowell Post, which was called in to investigate immediately after the April 25 shooting, also released more details about the shooting, which occurred after a man displayed a handgun at a Valparaiso park.

Around 2:04 p.m., officers from the Valparaiso Police Department and the Porter County Sheriff’s Department responded to the area of Fairgrounds Park, 645 Evans Ave., to investigate a report of a male subject displaying a handgun, according to a release from Sgt. Glen Fifield, the Lowell Post’s public information officer.

Officers located a male matching the description near Butterfield Pavilion within the park. As officers engaged with the suspect, the suspect ran west toward Calumet Avenue.

“The suspect shot several times at the officers and at a police vehicle,” Fifield said.

Officers returned fire as they continued to pursue the suspect. The foot pursuit continued west through an alley to Valparaiso Street, where the suspect ran onto the porch of a house and again raised his handgun at the officers.

“Officers fired their weapons at the suspect, striking him and incapacitating him,” according to Fifield. “Officers handcuffed the suspect and rendered first aid until paramedics arrived on scene.”

Paramedics transported Caden Mura, 20, of Valparaiso, to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Officials from Porter County Coroner’s Office were called to the Northwest Health – Valparaiso emergency room at 3:04 p.m. on April 25 regarding the death; his death is still under investigation.

An autopsy was conducted on Saturday. The cause and manner of death are pending per the toxicology report, which could take four to six weeks, according to the coroner’s office.

Mura pleaded guilty in October to a misdemeanor count of resisting law enforcement and was on probation as part of a resolution of three criminal cases against him, according to online court records.

Once the investigation into the fatal shooting has been completed, all information obtained will be turned over to the Porter County Prosecutor for review, Fifield said.

Valparaiso Police Chief Andrew McIntyre and Porter County Sheriff Jeff Balon identified the officers but the Post-Tribune is not identifying them since the investigation is ongoing and none of them have been charged with a crime.

In a statement, Balon said that placing the officers on paid administrative leave “is typical with any officer involved deadly force incident.”

The state police’s Lowell Post was called to investigate the shooting immediately after it occurred on April 25.

“Officer involved shootings are very complex and need to be investigated thoroughly,” Balon said. “I would like to thank the public for their patience and support while this incident is being investigated.”

Both Balon and McIntyre, who started as Valparaiso’s police chief in January 2023 after Balon, the former police chief, was elected as sheriff, thanked the agencies involved in the investigation, including the Valparaiso Fire Department and the Porter County Prosecutor’s office, as well as the coroner’s office and state police.

“I am grateful for the quick and heroic efforts of the first responders on Thursday, as their actions were brave and prevented additional threat of harm in our community,” McIntyre said in a statement. “I am beyond proud of these officers and our entire community during these challenging times.”