By Ken de la Bastide
ELWOOD – Elwood police officer Noah Shahnavaz was shot to death early Sunday morning, July 31, during a traffic stop.
Shahnavaz, 24, was a five-year military veteran who had been with the Elwood Police Department for 11 months. He is survived by his parents and siblings.
Carl Roy Webb Boards II, 42, Anderson, was arrested on a preliminary charge of murder in connection with the shooting. Boards was transported to the Hamilton County Jail and will likely be charged with a firearm enhancement as a habitual offender, according to Andrew Hanna, Madison County chief deputy prosecutor.
Boards has a lengthy criminal record that includes a conviction in 2006 for firing a weapon at Indiana State Police officers, Hanna said.
Here’s a description from state police of what happened Sunday morning:
Just after 2 a.m., Shahnavaz stopped a 2012 Buick LaCrosse near the intersection of Indiana 37 and County Road 1100 North. Police have not provided a reason for the traffic stop.
Boards got out of the Buick and fired multiple shots, striking Shahnavaz at least once, then fled in the Buick.
Officers from Elwood and Madison County found the wounded Shahnavaz and administered life-saving measures until medical personnel arrived.
Shahnavaz was taken by ambulance to Ascension St. Vincent Mercy Hospital in Elwood and later flown by helicopter to an Indianapolis-area hospital, where he died.
Just after 2:30 a.m., Hamilton County officers located the Buick and attempted a traffic stop. The Buick continued southbound on Indiana 37. Hamilton County sheriff’s deputies pursued the Buick and deployed a tire-deflation device near the area of Indiana 37 and 146th Street.
The Buick continued southbound on Indiana 37 toward Interstate 69. While on I-69, Fishers police employed two “precision immobilization techniques.” After the second attempt, the Buick struck a median barrier wall. Officers took Boards into custody without further incident.
According to the state police news release, the investigation is ongoing. Boards was held Sunday without bond at the Hamilton County Jail.
“You go from being prayerful to being angry,” Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger said of Shahnavaz’s death.
Gov. Eric Holcomb expressed his support Sunday afternoon for the community of Elwood and for the slain officer’s family.
“A family, community and state are devastated by the loss of … Officer Shahnavaz, a young public servant at the start of his law enforcement career,” Holcomb wrote in a statement.
“Not only did he choose to serve his fellow Americans for five years in the United States Army, he returned to Indiana to rededicate himself to serving and protecting others as a police officer.”
Elwood Mayor Todd Jones said it’s nearly impossible to find the right words to comfort Shahnavaz’s family and the community.
“A senseless act of violence robbed this young man of the life and career he deserved.”
Some residents of Elwood and surrounding communities gathered in front of the Elwood Government Building shortly before a 2 p.m. news conference Sunday, 12 hours after the fatal shooting.
Some paid their respects by placing bouquets of flowers around a vehicle in front of the police station next door.
Among the mourners were Elwood’s Lindy Walker and Donna Williams. Though they live in a close-knit community where people often know officers by name, Walker and Williams said they had never met Shahnavaz, a rookie officer.
“All these cops getting killed. It’s sad,” Williams said. “I hope this guy pays for what he did to the cop. The cop didn’t deserve to die like that.”
Michael Partlow and his father, Bill Partlow, came to Elwood from Frankton to pay their respects. Michael heard about the shooting around 10 a.m. Sunday.
“My heart dropped,” he said.
Bill said his brother, Shane Partlow, is a retired deputy. Bill worked as a firefighter.
“The first responders, whether we’re retired or not, we’re still brothers,” he said. “It hits close to home for all of us. We never thought this would happen here.”
Bill and Michael Partlow said they planned to ask their respective employers to make donations to help cover expenses related to Shahnavaz’s death.
“We do stuff like this all the time. We did it for Ukraine,” said Michael Partlow, who works for IMMI, a manufacturer of seats used in some police cruisers.
Sunday’s tragedy marked the second time an Elwood police officer was killed in the line of duty. Willard S. VanHorn was shot to death July 1, 1932, while responding to a burglary.