FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Fort Wayne police fatally shot a man Friday while he held a child hostage at knifepoint in his second such hostage incident in three months.
Joseph S. Schroeder, 36, of Fort Wayne was fatally shot by officers about 5 a.m. Friday while holding a 3-year-old child in front of him, authorities said.
After a six-hour standoff, officers believed the child was in danger and decided to make a move, entering the house, Public Safety Director Rusty York said.
“As the male subject became more and more erratic, and more and more belligerent, the child became more distressed,” York told WANE-TV. The officers “encountered a male, armed with a knife, holding the child right in front of him. Both officers fired on the individual, taking extreme care not to put the child at risk.”
Schroeder was taken to a hospital in critical condition and died a short time later. The child was not hurt.
“These officers acted very professionally, saved the life of this child. It speaks to their professionalism and how highly they are trained,” York said.
The incident began when officers were called to the home shortly after 11 p.m. Thursday for a domestic dispute. Schroeder’s girlfriend also had been inside the home but was able to escape, police said.
Negotiators made contact with Schroeder through text messages, but those messages stopped and police threw a phone into the home, but he refused to answer, police said. However, he eventually began talking to negotiators by phone.
Police were called to the same home in July while Schroeder was holding a child hostage with a large knife. He surrendered to officers without incident after three hours. It was not immediately clear if the child held in July was the same one held Friday. Charges against Schroeder in connection with that incident were pending.
The officers involved in the shooting were placed on paid administrative leave and will meet with mental health professionals before returning to duty, police said. Their names have not been released.
The Indiana State Police will investigate the incident.