Release: Review of Mwaura shooting death - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Release: Review of Mwaura shooting death

Posted:

At approximately 5:06 A.M. on June 2, 2013, 911 operators received calls from residents of an apartment building in the Irish Hills Apartment complex regarding a domestic disturbance of some sort. Police responded to the building and were met by Ms. Lucy Mundia (32) outside. She was bleeding from several substantial knife wounds to her hands, her cheek, and her chest. She was rather disoriented and upset, and was not able to give police a great deal of information. But did say that her ex-husband, Edward Mwaura (33) was the person who did this and told police that Mwaura was still inside the apartment, along with their 6-year-old daughter, Shirley Mundia.

Several police officers, including Lt. Steven Noonan, approached the apartment, which was locked. Lt. Noonan then made a single "call out" to the suspect inside, instructing him to come out. At that point, the police officers heard screaming begin inside the apartment. Lt. Noonan immediately began to force open the front door: Entering the apartment with other officers behind him, he reached the bedroom and saw Mwaura stabbing Shirley with a knife. Lt. Noonan immediately fired 2 shots, hitting Mwaura with both. Mwaura fell to the floor and died. Another officer immediately picked up Shirley and carried her out of the building to an ambulance that had just arrived. Shirley died from her injuries.

A forensic autopsy was performed on Shirley's body. It revealed that the cause of her death was multiple stab wounds. Shirley had no bullet wounds.

A forensic autopsy was also performed on Mwaura's body. It revealed that he was killed by two gunshots. He also sustained a stab wound to the torso that was not his immediate cause of death. Neither the pathologist nor the investigation could definitively explain how this injury was caused.

Lt. Noonan and the other police officers who made entry into the apartment gave detailed statements to CMHU investigators. Neighbors and bystanders were interviewed, and police reports from other responding officers were collected.

Ms. Mundia gave a statement to CMHU investigators at the hospital. She indicated that Mwaura had arrived at her apartment early that morning. When she told him that he was not welcome, he armed himself with multiple knives from the kitchen, and started cutting her with the knives until she was able to escape from the apartment.

The physical evidence at the scene was consistent with this summary of the facts. 2 spent shell casings were collected, 2 rounds were missing from Lt. Noonan's weapon, and 2 bullet projectiles were recovered from Mwaura's body. Several bloody knives were found scattered throughout the apartment, along with a substantial amount of blood.

Legal Conclusions:

Lt. Noonan and the other officers acted appropriately when they entered the apartment.
Lt. Noonan was justified in using deadly force when he fatally shot Edward Mwaura. Indiana Code 35-41-3-2 provides that a person may use deadly force to protect a third party to prevent serious bodily injury or to protect that third person from a forcible felony. Lt. Noonan saw Mwaura actively stabbing another person, Shirley Mundia, and fired his weapon to stop Mwaura from stabbing her. Clearly the facts learned from the CMHU investigation and Indiana law supports the actions of Lt. Steven Noonan. The St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office has determined that the use of deadly force in the shooting death of Edward Mwaura was a justified homicide.

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