Indiana woman fatally shoots man after he holds gun to her husband's head **UPDATED**

Indiana woman fatally shoots man after he holds gun to her husband's head **UPDATED**
AP Photo/ Rick Bowmer

It was a quiet Monday afternoon for a couple in Salem, Indiana, at least until a man drove his car into a couple’s yard and threatened the homeowner with a firearm.


According to the Indiana State Police, that man was saved thanks to the quick response from his wife, who spotted what was going on while still inside the family’s home.

Police said officers found Michael Chastain in the front yard with a gunshot wound. He was taken to Saint Vincent Hospital in Salem, where he was pronounced dead.

According to a news release Tuesday, the incident started when Chastain drove through the front yard, grabbed the homeowner, forced him to the ground and pointed a gun at his head. The homeowner’s wife saw it happen and shot Chastain with her handgun.

The investigation continues, and the case will eventually be turned over to the Washington County Prosecutor’s Office, according to the news release.

Unfortunately, that’s all the information available at the moment, so we don’t know what prompted Chastain to accost the homeowner or if the two even knew each other at all. Based on the initial police report, however, it sounds like this was a pretty clear case of defense of another, and the armed citizen wasn’t charged by police at the scene with any crime.
It could still be some time before prosecutors determine whether or not charges should be filed, even if the evidence points to self-defense. We recently covered another fairly clear-cut case of a defensive gun use that took months for prosecutors to clear, and it’s not unheard of for a year or more to go by before charging decisions are made.
Even when prosecutors do decide that a crime has been committed, they can change their mind. In fact, a 32-year old in Missouri just learned this week that he is no longer facing second-degree murder charges for a shooting last September after a “review” of surveillance footage revealed the man fired back at the suspect who was shot and killed.

Warren Smith Jr., 32, of Florissant, was charged with second-degree murder soon after the Sept. 7, 2022, killing of Kardaye’ Moore inside the Beverly Hills Supermarket, at 6714 Natural Bridge Avenue. The shooting was caught on surveillance video in the store showing it stemmed from a fight between Smith’s cousin and Moore.

Chris King, a spokesman for St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell’s Office, said in an email that the office dismissed the case last week after a “closer review of the evidence.”

“When we slowed the surveillance video down, it appears that the defendant pulled his gun after the deceased began shooting,” King wrote. “We couldn’t proceed with prosecution ethically with a valid self-defense claim.”

Smith’s defense attorney Richard P. Hereford said the charge should have been dismissed earlier. The case was set to go to trial Monday before prosecutors dismissed it.

“He should have never been charged,” Hereford said. “It was clearly a case of self-defense.”

They never thought to slow down the surveillance footage until recently? Smith’s murder trial was scheduled to start this past Monday, and he spent almost a year in jail after bond was denied in this case, only for prosecutors to suddenly decide that he’d been acting in self-defense just days before jury selection was supposed to take place.
Smith’s attorney says the next step is to get his client’s arrest expunged, but there’s no way to make up for the lost time that Smith spent behind bars awaiting trial.
Hopefully, the armed citizen in Indiana doesn’t face similar abuses in her defense of her husband, but the wheels of justice grind slowly and relief may be slow in coming. In the meantime, we’ll keep our eyes peeled for any additional information on what led to Chastain threatening her husband at gunpoint and will provide updates as more details become available.
Well, we now have a little bit of new info on the man in Salem, Indiana who was shot and killed after holding a gun to a man’s head, thanks to local station WDRB-TV.

Investigators with Indiana State Police told WDRB News that Chastain is well-known in the area, and has a criminal background. He dated the homeowner’s daughter, but she no longer lives at the home, so police aren’t sure why he targeted her father.

There are multiple possibilities, but I wonder if Chastain had other plans for the woman after he’d killed her parents, in which case the woman who shot and killed her husband’s attacker may very well have saved her own life and her daughter’s life as well. With Chastain no longer able to answer questions from investigators we may never know what led him to target the man, but based on this additional information it seems even more certain that this was a justifiable shooting on the part of the armed homeowner who protected her husband from harm.


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