SOUTH BEND – Police have released the name of a suspect who officers shot Saturday in front of an Eddy Street elementary school after a short pursuit.
People close to 37-year-old Joseph Stambaugh told a WSBT reporter he was shot up to seven times and is in critical condition.
Police say they were forced to fire on him after he smashed head-on into a squad car near Perley Primary Fine Arts Academy and started trying to ram others.
“They shot him and he just slowly pulled up in front of the school," said witness Jordan Vangoey.
It was a dramatic scene as police surrounded the injured suspect. Vangoey was standing in front of her boyfriend’s house when police came flying down the road. She watched the entire thing unfold.
"We saw the police cars speeding down here,” she said. “I guess it was a high speed chase or something and they ran head-on, right into each other.”
Police say the incident started as a traffic stop in the 1600 block of South Bend Avenue just before 5 p.m.
"About 8 minutes into the traffic stop, from what we were able to determine, the suspect vehicle fled from the officers," said Chief Gary Horvath with the South Bend Police Department.
As the car tuned onto Eddy Street, police say Stambaugh crossed the center line and smashed head-on into a squad car.
"Rammed the first police car, eventually started ramming a second police car,” said Horvath. “Extensive damage on those vehicles out there. Officers were forced to defend themselves and fired at the vehicle."
Several bullet holes cover the front windshield of the car. Stambaugh was rushed to memorial hospital.
"That's horrible,” said Vangoey, “I don't even know what to think. I want to know what the car was doing."
Witnesses say several officers opened fire, but police have yet to say how many officers were involved in the shooting.
We do know at least one officer was injured in the head-on crash, but his injuries are not life threatening. However, he was taken to the hospital
Police have not said why Stambaugh ran. They are still investigating.
We were told by a man who claimed to know Stambaugh that he was driving on a suspended license. But, once again, police have not confirmed that information.
Stambaugh is accused of assault with a deadly weapon. Police say two officers were the victims of this assault.