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Man fatally shot by Portage police officer

Sun-Times file photo

A man was fatally shot by a Portage police officer during a traffic stop early Saturday in northwest Indiana.

At 1:47 a.m., the officer pulled over a blue 2004 Jeep Liberty in the 5200 block of Royal Avenue in Portage, according to a statement from the Porter County sheriff’s office.

The Jeep pulled into a driveway on that block, and the driver, 39-year-old William Spates, put the vehicle in reverse and accelerated rapidly into the officer’s fully marked squad car, striking it, according to the sheriff’s office.

Witnesses reported hearing the officer yelling commands to the driver and an engine revving, followed by between six and seven shots fired.

The officer reported shots fired and requested another unit, according to the sheriff’s office. He informed dispatchers that his vehicle was struck and the man had tried to run him over, then asked EMS to step up their response.

Another officer at the scene helped pull Spates from the vehicle and rendered aid with his tactical first-aid kit, according to the sheriff’s office.

Spates, a Portage resident, was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy Sunday found Spates died of multiple gunshot wounds to the torso and head, according to the Porter County coroner’s office. Toxicology results are pending.

Spates had been arrested Wednesday by Portage police and charged with felony counts of strangulation and domestic battery, and two misdemeanor counts of battery, according to the sheriff’s office. He was released on bond at 10:29 p.m. Friday.

The officer was taken to Portage Hospital, where he was treated and released.

The Porter County sheriff’s office is investigating the shooting with assistance from Indiana State Police.