ELKHART — An Elkhart police officer has been suspended for two days for his involvement in an off-duty incident when three intoxicated officers may have fired a weapon from a car in December 2018.
At 1:43 a.m. on Dec. 14, an on-duty Goshen officer heard two gunshots from the area of Elkhart Road under the C.R. 17 overpass. The officer found one vehicle in that area and conducted a traffic stop. Brody Brown, an off-duty Goshen officer, was arrested for intoxicated driving. He has since pleaded guilty and resigned. The passengers were Goshen officer Kyle Kalb and Elkhart officer Cpl. Leonard Dolshenko.
According to police, Dolshenko refused to respond and assist with the investigation due to his level of intoxication.
Both Elkhart Police Chief Chris Snyder, Goshen Police Chief Jose Miller and Elkhart County Prosecutor Vicki Becker have criticized the Goshen Police Department for sloppy police work. The vehicle did not undergo further investigation, and the passengers were told to get a ride home. Officers from different agencies searched along the roadway and grassy areas south of the underpass for ammunition casings or other evidence of shots being fired. They found nothing after several hours.
The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office later investigated the gunshots but was unable to determine who fired the gun. As a consequence, no additional charges have been filed.
During the investigation, Dolshenko said he was too drunk to remember anyone firing a gun. However, he did recall other events from the evening.
On Monday, Snyder informed the Elkhart Police Merit Commission that Dolshenko will be suspended for two days without pay. According to the chief, Dolshenko violated department policies concerning conduct unbecoming of an officer, immoral conduct and the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.
“From what we have seen with the criminal investigation as well as the internal investigation, there is nothing to indicate that Corporal Dolshenko was the one that fired the gun,” Snyder said.
He said all the officers in the vehicle were armed at the time. An internal Goshen police investigation found that Kalb fired the shots. He since resigned, but Becker found there was not enough evidence for a criminal case.
Separately, Dolshenko and another Elkhart officer were named in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city. Dolshenko and Nathan Lanzen shot and killed Norman Gary on Dec. 4, 2016. A grand jury decided that the officers were justified in using lethal force, but Gary’s sister filed a lawsuit against the city in November 2018.
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