INDIANAPOLIS — An officer killed in a gun battle with a man armed with an assault rifle had been honored for his bravery and his work, Indianapolis police said Sunday.
Officer Perry Renn, who worked as a street patrol officer his entire career of more than 20 years, was awarded the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's Medal of Bravery in 2003 and also received a letter of commendation for his efforts during the 2011 Indiana State Fair stage collapse that killed seven people, police spokesman Lt. Chris Bailey said.
Renn died Saturday night after responding with other officers to a report of shots fired. Major Davis Jr., 25, was walking away from officers when witnesses say he opened fire on officers, police said. Officers returned fire and struck Davis, who was in critical condition Sunday following surgery. He faced a preliminary charge of murder.
"This is a sad day for the IMPD family and the community as a whole," IMPD Chief Rick Hite said in a statement. "Please keep Officer Renn's family in your prayers. We will remain vigilant as we continue to take care of one another and the city in the days and weeks to come."
IMPD put Renn's patrol car on display outside its North District headquarters, and on Sunday mourners left flowers on the vehicle. It was also decorated with an American flag on its hood and personal notes.
"Thank you for your sacrifice," one handwritten note said.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard requested that flags across the city be lowered to half-staff. Gov. Mike Pence issued a statement expressing condolences over the death of Renn and Gary Police Patrolman Jeffrey Westerfield, who was found shot in his patrol car Sunday morning.
Davis, the suspect in Renn's shooting, has a conviction for misdemeanor marijuana possession stemming from a 2008 arrest.
His father, Major Davis Sr., died in police custody at age 35 in May 2003 — the day before his son's 14th birthday. The elder Davis had been arrested for public intoxication and struggled with officers. An autopsy concluded he died of a heart attack.
Bailey said Renn was the second officer to arrive in a north side neighborhood and that Davis had been "obviously upset" when he approached the first officer on the scene. She said Davis refused to follow orders to show his hands and walked away from the officer into a small yard.
"Officer Renn arrived and the officers saw Davis with an assault rifle in his hand. The officers asked for additional back-up," Bailey said in a news release. "As a third officer was getting out of his patrol car, several shots were heard. By the time the third officer made it to the alley both Officer Renn and the suspect were down. Witnesses observed Davis fire shots at the officers and the officers return fire."
Bill Owensby, president of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police, told WTHR-TV that Renn was wearing a protective vest but the fatal shot pierced the vest.
Funeral arrangements were pending.
Public Safety Director Troy Riggs said Renn was the eighth police officer shot during the last 18 months. The last officer to die in the line of duty was Officer Rod Bradway, who was fatally shot last September when he was ambushed by a gunman after kicking in an apartment door in response to a woman's screams for help.