SOUTH BEND – The man who police shot in front of South Bend's Perley Primary Center on Eddy Street Saturday has officially been charged.
Police say 37-year-old Joseph Stambaugh tried to speed away from officers during a traffic stop and slammed into at least two squad cars. That's when they opened fire.
For a police description of the events surrounding the shooting, read the probable cause affidavit here.
Stambaugh has been charged with the following with possibly more charges to come: Operating a vehicle after a lifetime suspension of driving privileges, a Class C felony; resisting law enforcement, a Class D felony; possession of cocaine within 1,000 feet of school property, a Class B felony; possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor; and false informing, a class B misdemeanor.
He faces up to 32 years and 180 days in prison. Upon release from the hospital, according to the prosecutor's office, he will be taken to jail with bond set at $50,000 corporate surety or $5,000 cash.
Police say they pulled Stambaugh over in his Camaro on South Bend Avenue Saturday afternoon after running a check on his license plate, which didn't match the description of his car. According to charging documents, Stambaugh gave police a fake name before speeding off in his car and turning down Eddy Street.
They say that's when he rammed a police car head-on. Then put his car in reverse – intentionally striking another police car while trying to get away.
According to police, Stambaugh was using his vehicle as a weapon, and that is why officers opened fire.
“Officer Christopher Houser also responded to the area, in response to the police radio dispatches concerning the pursuit,” according to the probable cause affidavit. “Officer Houser, headed Northbound on Eddy Street began slowing his vehicle as the pursuit approached. In response to the sirens of multiple emergency vehicles, a civilian vehicle stopped in the northbound travel lane of Eddy Street. As Officer Houser stopped his vehicle, observing the oncoming pursuit, the Camaro maneuvered around the civilian vehicle, before striking Officer Houser's car head-on, pushing it back several feet. At that time, Officers Hibbs, Baker, and Guyton approached from behind the Camaro, attempting to box the vehicle in. The driver of the Camaro placed the car in reverse, and accelerated toward the oncoming police vehicles. Officer Hibbs began to exit his vehicle, but as the Camaro approached in reverse, Officer Hibbs re-entered his vehicle, avoiding being struck by the Camaro, which would have directly struck his door as he was in the process of exiting. As Officer Baker, approaching nearly simultaneously with Officer Hibbs, approached the Camaro from the rear, the driver of the Camaro drove directly into the front of her vehicle, ramming it. By that time, Officer Houser had exited his vehicle and was approaching the front of the Camaro on foot, yelling commands for the driver to stop the vehicle. The driver again placed the vehicle into drive (forward) and began accelerating forward. At that time, officers opened fire on the vehicle.”
His family says he was shot about seven times and is in serious but stable condition.
"He took two in the right thumb, one in the left index finger, a couple in the chest because he has exit wounds in his back, one in the right shoulder, one through-and-through on the right bicep, one grazed his right ear and one pierced his stomach," said Jeremy Stambaugh, Joseph's brother.
Both officers involved in the crash, Christopher Houser and Maranda Baker, were treated and released at an area hospital.
Stambaugh has quite a criminal history dating back more than a decade. He was just released from prison about a year ago and has a lengthy history of drug and traffic violations.
On Saturday WSBT spoke to his family, who admit Stambaugh was no angel, but say he was never violent. And right now they question why he was shot so many times.
"I saw the video of my brother lying on the ground asking for an ambulance and how desperately they were moving around and trying to help him and that, and I just didn't see it, I didn't see anybody trying to help him," said Jeremy.
Jeremy doesn't believe his brother intentionally hit any police car, and says the force taken was excessive.
"If he pulled a gun and started firing – yeah, that warrants being shot to death,” he said. “If you killed somebody and someone saw you do it – yeah, that warrants you be put to death. Running from somebody? No, I don't see where that warrants it."
But this wasn't Joseph Stambaugh's first run-in with the law. His record dates back several years, with everything varying from child support claims in 2002, possession of cocaine in 2004, and dealing marijuana in 2010.
But despite his criminal history, his brother says Joseph was a good person – even if he wasn't a model citizen.
"He's a decent guy,” Jeremy said. “Selling narcotics is a horrible thing – and it is, I don't disagree with that – but does it warrant killing him or trying to kill him?"
Stambaugh was driving without a license and, according to charging documents, police found drugs in his car.
WSBT was told by the prosecutor's office that more charges could follow.
The shooting is still being investigated, and we still don't know how many officers shot at Stambaugh. His family says doctors told them he was shot about seven times, but police have not confirmed that, saying a bullet could cause multiple wounds.