A photo shot last week by an Indiana police officer’s wife shows the tender moment in which Southport police Lt. Aaron Allan walked their 5-year-old son, hand in hand, to the bus stop for his first day of kindergarten.
Less than six hours later, Allan was dead, shot 14 times by a man trapped upside down in his vehicle following a crash. The 38-year-old Allan was a 20-year law enforcement veteran, serving his last six years with the Southport Police Department.
Southport police Chief Tom Vaughn told the Indianapolis Star that Allan, described by those who knew him as a “big Teddy bear” with a gift for community policing, asked to come into work late so he could experience that milestone with his son.
The Star reported that Allan responded to the scene of a crash around 2:30 p.m. Thursday in Homecroft, a small town just north of Southport. The driver and shooting suspect, Jason Brown, reportedly lost control of his speeding BMW and struck a median before going airborne and flipping the car into the front yard of a residence.
A 20-year-old passenger had exited the car and was standing on the driver’s side when Allan and Homecroft police Major C.T. Bowman arrived.
A probable cause affidavit made public Monday indicated that Bowman was talking to the passenger and witnesses as Allan crawled into the car from the passenger side to calm Brown down.
“The guy was hysterical,” Bowman told investigators, according to the Star. “Lt. Allan climbed into the car thinking that it was a personal injury accident, not thinking the guy is going to start shooting.”
Allan was reassuring Brown, who was wedged into the car and hanging upside down by his seat belt, that help was on the way when he was shot, WRTV in Indianapolis reported. A witness standing outside the driver’s side of the BMW told police he saw Brown reach for something behind his back.
The witness said he saw a pistol just as someone on the scene shouted, “Gun!”
A second witness sitting in a vehicle nearby saw Brown fire multiple shots at Allan, even as Allan tried to crawl away, the affidavit said, according to WRTV. Allan sustained gunshot wounds to the abdomen, arms, legs, back and buttocks, the news station reported.
Allan was pronounced dead at Eskenazi Hospital, the same hospital where Brown remained Monday as he recovered from his own gunshot wounds.
Brown was shot by Bowman and an off-duty Johnson County deputy who had also responded to the crash scene to offer assistance. The extent of Brown’s injuries was not clear, though friends told Indianapolis news station WXIN that the tattoo artist was shot in the face.
His first court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday. WRTV reported that preliminary charges include murder and possession of a controlled substance.
The drug charge stems from the discovery of more than a dozen small bags of suspected marijuana in his overturned vehicle, the news station reported.
Also seized after the shooting was the suspected murder weapon, a black semi-automatic Springfield XDM-9. The gun’s slide was locked back and it held an empty magazine with a 20-round capacity, WRTV reported.
Brown’s passenger, who was questioned and released without being charged, told investigators that Brown picked him up at an apartment complex shortly before the crash. After a stop at a gas station, Brown began to speed and dart through traffic, going around other vehicles, according to the passenger. The man told police he did not know why Brown started driving erratically.
Southport Police Chief Tom Vaughn described Allan as a hard worker who “responded to (Brown’s) crash with urgency to preserve life” before losing his own. The chief has set up a GoFundMe account to assist Allan’s widow, Stacy, and their two sons.
As of Monday afternoon, the crowdfunding site had raised more than $67,000 of its $100,000 goal.
Stacy Allan released a statement on behalf of her family in which she thanked their community and people across the country for the “outpouring” of support since her husband’s slaying.
“Aaron, my husband, a family man and an amazing friend to so many, helped anyone in need. Aaron was my rock and we are all so heartbroken,” Stacy Allan wrote, according to WTHR-TV. “I will be forever grateful our Heavenly Father shared him with me and our boys, where we experienced such unconditional love. He was not only proud to wear the badge, he was a proud father and husband.
“There is no room in my heart for anger or hate, only peace knowing Aaron died doing what he loved,” she wrote. “Aaron was honored to serve with his brothers and sisters in blue.”
The widow asked for privacy as the family and department celebrate her husband’s life.
Allan’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday. It is open to the public.
Vaughn told the Star that Allan was his department’s sole full-time, paid officer. Allan joined the force as a volunteer reserve officer in 2011. At the time, he also served as a school resource officer in the Franklin Township schools.
In 2015, Allan was awarded the department’s inaugural Officer of the Year Award. He was hired as the city’s first full-time officer position in January.
Allan is also the first Southport police officer killed in the line of duty.