Media Contact: Vicki Elaine Becker (574) 296-1888

Many of our community friends and neighbors were severely traumatized by the violent events which occurred on the southeast side of Goshen on the morning of April 5, 2017.

Shortly after 9:20 a.m., at least three (3) individuals were threatened with a deadly weapon during attempted carjackings, and at least one other victim was forced from the roadway with the threat of a head-on collision at the hands of nineteen (19) year old Michael Alcarez of Bristol. As the events unfolded, numerous additional citizens were placed in danger as Alcarez fired a shotgun at Sgt. Stuart Smith while on US 33 in heavy traffic. The danger culminated in the parking lot area of Double D’s Hometown Bar and Grill in the 800 block of Lincolnway East, which is also known as US 33, a mixed residential and commercial property area where Alcarez opened fire on police officers with a shotgun as they were trying to apprehend him. Patrolman Todd Shidler and Patrolman Coty Brown were forced to return fire with Officer Shidler neutralizing Alcarez finally stopping his attack.

It is unknown what provoked Mr. Alcarez to behave in such an irrational and dangerous fashion, and to threaten so many people of our community. A blood test evidenced that Mr. Alcarez had used marijuana prior to the events, and a search of his bedroom at his home indicated abuse of inhalants. A backpack carried by Alcarez contained more than 40 additional live rounds of shotgun ammunition. A family member of Mr. Alcarez had indicated that he had been acting strange in the recent past, but was unaware of the reason for that behavior. However, other family members indicated that they had no reason to be concerned for Mr. Alcarez.

Whatever it was that prompted Mr. Alcarez to believe that he should threaten the people in our community with deadly force, it is inexcusable. Our community is grateful for the extensive training, experience and courage demonstrated by the Goshen Police Department officers involved in this event for the protection they provided to hundreds more.

Law enforcement became aware of the public safety emergency at County Road 38 (Kercher Road) and US 33 (Lincolnway) on the far southeast side of Goshen due to the immediate reporting from several of our citizens calling 9-1-1. There, Alcarez was observed getting out of the Dodge Durango he had been driving before stopping along with other vehicles for the light. Alcarez pointed a shotgun at the driver of another stopped vehicle then tried to get in her passenger door before she sped away. Alcarez was reported to have fired a shot from his shotgun at the rear of that vehicle as the driver escaped, physically unharmed. He then got back in his vehicle and traveled down County Road 38, forcing another driver off the road to avoid a head-on collision. Alcarez then confronted yet another driver, following her into the parking lot of the BP station on the corner, pointing his shotgun at her and demanding her keys. That victim was able to flee into the station where attendants called for police and tried to provide shelter as Alcarez rounded the building, pounding on the windows. A third vehicle, also in that area, was also approached by Alcarez, gun drawn, and demanding access to that vehicle as well. However, Alcarez’s Durango began to roll away, providing a diversion for that potential victim to flee. One alert community member was able to document the suspect’s license plate number and a thorough description of the vehicle and relayed these things to the dispatch operator.

Within a few minutes came the police response. Several officers hurried toward the chaos being reported. Sgt. Stuart Smith, and Patrolman Todd Shidler both responded, trying to determine the exact location where they had the potential to locate and intercept Alcarez. Patrolman Coty Brown also headed toward the area, determined a likely intercept point due to what he was hearing over the radio and waited. In the meantime, Sgt. Smith observed a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle making a “u-turn” on US 33 so that it was now heading north as Sgt. Smith was heading south. As Alcarez approached Sgt. Smith’s fully marked police cruiser, he leveled the barrel of his shotgun at Smith and fired. Sgt. Smith was not injured and immediately turned around to pursue Alcarez, notifying other officers of his location and what was occurring.

Alcarez led Sgt. Smith northwest on US 33 passing numerous businesses, residences, and heavy traffic in the area. At times, Alcarez would slow, and at one point stopped, only to proceed toward the downtown area again. Upon reaching the area of Double D’s Hometown Bar and Grill, Alcarez abruptly pulled into the parking lot area, exited his truck and ran around the north side of the building, shotgun still in hand. Officer Shidler and Officer Brown pursued behind him as Sgt. Smith proceeded around the back side of the building in an attempt to head off Alcarez so he could not escape into the residential area behind the business which is approximately one quarter of a mile from Goshen High School.

Alcarez came back out from behind the building and began firing at the police officers. Officers Shidler and Brown returned fire until Alcarez was injured and fell to the ground, his wound immediately fatal. Sgt. Smith, hearing the gunfire as he was rounding the back of the building, saw a person in the open door of a mini-van behind the building facing away from him and toward where the sounds of gunfire had been heard. Sgt. Smith’s brain was thinking “shooter” and he fired two (2) shots from his rifle at that person, striking him in the back. It was soon discovered that the man at the back of the building was our community member Fernando Cuevas, age sixty-eight (68), who was stopping to search for discarded bottles from the business, not the suspect. Mr. Cuevas has been seriously wounded and is still in the hospital being treated.

As many of you are aware, the Prosecuting Attorney often calls on the assistance of a Grand Jury to review the facts and circumstances of events such as this, officer involved shootings. However, in this case, no material facts are in dispute and neither is the intent of any of the officers involved in this use of deadly force event. Accordingly, I will not be requesting a Grand Jury to assist in my decision and I will not be filing criminal charges against any of these officers. Patrolman Shidler’s self-less, courageous and controlled response to Alcaraz’s terror eliminated further risk to countless other Goshen residents and innocent people who happened to be driving up US 33 that morning. Patrolman Brown’s intuition and immediate backup response protected others from Michael Alcarez as well. Finally, Sgt. Smith’s intentions were clearly not criminal under the laws of the State of Indiana and I may not, ethically, prosecute him for his actions given the facts of this case.

The tragic and violent impact of this event on our community is disheartening. We want to believe that this kind of thing will not happen here. But, as this case demonstrates, it can. Whether it is dangerous and irrational behavior threatening our families and children because of drug abuse, or some other reason, we are profoundly thankful for the training and professionalism of the Goshen Police Department. They embrace the policy of least amount of force necessary to protect the community but, they were ready and able to stop Michael Alcarez, when they had to, in order to protect your loved ones and mine.


“Under Indiana law, all persons arrested for a criminal offense are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”