The Indiana State Police, Valparaiso Police Department and Porter County Sheriff’s Office all gave updates Tuesday on an officer involved shooting that happened on April 25 in Valparaiso.

Statement from Indiana State Police:

Valparaiso- The Indiana State Police Criminal Investigations Division at the Lowell Post has completed their interviews of the officers involved in the shooting that took place in Valparaiso on April 25.

The Indiana State Police can release the following information about the incident.

On Thursday, April 25, 2024, at approximately 2:04 p.m., officers from the Valparaiso Police Department and the Porter County Sheriff’s Department responded to the area of Fairgrounds Park to investigate a report of a male subject that had been displaying a handgun. Officers located a male that matched the description given out by the dispatchers near Butterfield Pavilion which is in Fairgrounds Park.  As officers engaged with the suspect, the suspect ran west towards Calumet Ave. The suspect shot several times at the officers and at a police vehicle.  Officers returned fire as they continued to pursue the suspect.  The foot pursuit continued west through an alley to Valparaiso St. where the suspect ran onto the porch of a house and again raised his handgun at the officers.  Officers fired their weapons at the suspect, striking him and incapacitating him.  Officers handcuffed the suspect and rendered first aid until paramedics arrived on scene.  Paramedics transported the suspect to Northwest Health Hospital where he was pronounced deceased by the Porter County Coroner.

At the request of the Valparaiso Police Department and the Porter County Sheriff’s Department, their statements are included below as well as the original news release. This investigation is ongoing. Once the investigation has been completed, all information obtained will be turned over to the Porter County Prosecutor for review.


Statement from Valparaiso Police Department:

Detectives with the Indiana State Police Criminal Investigation Division have completed their interviews with the officers involved in the April 25, 2024, shooting of an armed suspect. multiple officers fired their weapons during the course of this event occurring, including three from the Valparaiso Police Department. The Valparaiso Police officers who fired their weapons are Captain Brian McDonald – a 31 year veteran of VPD, Lieutenant Jon Watson —an eight (8) year veteran of VPD, and Patrol Officer Steven Augustine —a three (3) year veteran of VPD. Per department policy, the three officers will remain on administrative leave until the investigation is complete and the Porter County Prosecutor has an opportunity to review the report.

The Valparaiso Police Department would like to thank the Indiana State Police, Porter County Sheriff’s Department, the Porter County Coroner’s Office, the Porter County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Valparaiso Fire Department for their assistance in this matter. VPD would also like to thank our community for the outpouring of support for our officers during this time.

“I am grateful for the quick and heroic efforts of the first responders on Thursday, as their actions were brave and prevented additional threat ot harm in our community,” Chief Andrew McIntyre said. “I am beyond proud of these officers and our entire community during these challenging times.”


Statement from Porter County Sheriff’s Office:

On April 25, 2024, multiple Officers from the Porter County Sheriff’s Office and Valparaiso Police Department were involved in a police action shooting of an armed suspect in Valparaiso. Two Porter County Sheriff’s Officers were actively involved in the incident and are identified as Patrol Commander, Lieutenant Jason Praschak and Patrol Officer Aaron Estrada. Lt. Praschak is a (18) year veteran of our agency and Officer Estrada is a (3) year veteran of our agency. Both agency members were placed on paid administrative leave, as is typical with any officer involved deadly force incident.

The Indiana State Police have been requested to complete an independent investigation and will be responsible for releasing further information. In addition to the Indiana State Police, I would like thank the Valparaiso Police Department, Porter County Coroner’s Office, Porter County Prosecutor’s Office and Valparaiso Fire Department for their assistance.

Officer involved shootings are very complex and need to be investigated thoroughly, I would like to thank the public for their patience and support while this incident is being investigated.


Sincerely, Jeffrey A. Balon

Porter County Sheriff