Ripley County prosecutor announces no charges in fatal 2021 police shooting

Body camera shows moments leading up to shooting
fatal police shooting ripley conuty indiana versailles
Posted at 6:08 PM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-19 09:19:13-05

VERSAILLES, Ind. — Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel said there will be no criminal charges in the fatal police shooting of 37-year-old Joshua Ebinger in October 2021.

While officials said body-worn camera shows clear "self-defense," the 42-minute redacted video released Friday did prompt questions from Ebinger's family.

"We're talking about this in the context of a domestic violence event, but was there really domestic violence," said Larry Wilder, lawyer for Ebinger's estate.

Ebinger died Oct. 10 outside the home of his estranged girlfriend, Serena Mozingo. Investigators said Mozingo had a protective order against Ebinger, and called 911 to tell dispatchers he had a gun while yelling threats.

"I quote, 'He's ready to go,'" Hertel said. "Quote, 'They better make sure they kill me, or I'm going to kill one of them.' Quote, 'I want them to come here. I'm ready for them.'"

Indiana State Trooper Ben Bastin's camera showed Mozingo leaving the house unharmed before Ebinger came outside armed with a handgun. For the next three minutes and 20 seconds, the recording shows officers yelling for Ebinger to surrender even after he aimed his weapon at Bastin.

"Don't do it," officers said on the recording. "Don't point it. We will shoot you now. Put it down."

Moments leading up to police shooting in Versailles, Indiana

When Ebinger aimed his weapon in the direction of two Ripley County Sheriff deputies, Bastin and Deputy AJ Smith opened fire. Ebinger died.

Four months later, Hertel said his office's investigation saw no reason to bring criminal charges against any members of law enforcement.

"Police officers were acting within the scope of their duties here and they're entitled to that defense," Hertel said. "And I could not prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt because these defenses are complete and absolute."

Members of Ebinger's family declined to comment. However, Wilder is considering civil action if evidence suggests authorities violated Ebinger's civil rights.

"Those factors play into whether that force (used) was necessary, was it justified, and were those government actors trained in a way that mandated that is what should have occurred," Wilder said.

Both the Indiana State Police and the Ripley County Sheriff's Office began administrative investigations to determine if all policies and procedures were followed.

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