The Indiana State Police (ISP) have released Blake Henry, 24, from custody and declared in a press release that no charges will be filed against the southern Indiana man who shot and killed 29-year-old Jacob Mitchell over the weekend. ISP ruled the incident to be a case of self-defense.
WDRB spoke with the Washington County prosecutor who told them Henry shot Mitchell after Mitchell charged at him. The man had already battered Mitchell as well as a female occupant of the home earlier in the evening.
The Washington County prosecutor released the following statement:
Washington County, Indiana (January 29, 2024) – On the late hours of Saturday evening into the early hours of Sunday morning (January 27, 28), a fatal shooting occurred at 506 North College Avenue in Salem, Indiana. Officers from the Salem Police Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Department and Indiana State Police arrived on scene shortly thereafter. It was determined that the homeowner, Blake Henry, shot Jacob Mitchell inside of the home. Also, in the home at the time of the shooting, were two adult females. The events that occurred were witnessed solely by those inside the home. Henry and the two females were taken to the Washington County Sheriff’s Department and interviewed by Indiana State Police detectives. Multiple officers and crime scene detectives remained on-scene at 506 N College Avenue until Sunday morning. Given the domestic nature of the investigation, and information learned at that time, it was necessary and appropriate for law enforcement to arrest Henry. He was booked into the Washington County Detention Center in the early morning hours of January 28th on the charge of murder.
Since Henry’s arrest, the investigation continued and the Prosecutor’s Office worked hand in hand with law enforcement to analyze all evidence collected in this investigation to date, to ensure that an appropriate charging decision could be made within the time constraints of the criminal justice system. We learned that Henry had been battered by Mitchell multiple times during the late-night incident. Mitchell also battered one of the females and had shattered a glass cabinet in a fit of rage. One woman inside said she had “never seen anyone act like that before,” and that Mitchell was “hurting everyone inside the home and we didn’t know what he was going to do.” Mitchell was physically charging at Henry when Henry fired the fatal shots. Henry immediately called 911 and can be heard issuing commands to “apply pressure,” as all inside engaged in life-saving measures. Henry repeatedly urged emergency personnel to come quickly to attempt to save Mitchell.
It was learned that the residence is rented by Henry, and he’d allowed Mitchell to stay since Mitchell had gotten into legal trouble in Lawrence County, Indiana, in a case alleging domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend. Mitchell also has a prior domestic battery conviction against a different victim from January 2023 in Lawrence County.
The constitution protects innocent people. Indiana law provides that a citizen has a right to defend themselves and third parties, and the judicial process worked here. After a thorough assessment of the events that occurred, it has been determined that Henry acted in self- defense, and in the interest of justice no criminal charges will result from the investigation conducted in this matter and he will be released from custody today.
The Prosecutor’s Office would like to thank the quick response of all law enforcement involved, as well as emergency management personnel.”
WDRB reported the ISP told them “investigators determined that Henry had been ‘battered several times during the late-night incident’ by Mitchell, who police said also ‘battered’ one of two women who were in the house and ‘shattered a glass cabinet in a fit of rage.’
“One woman inside told police she had ‘never seen anyone act like that before,’ and that Mitchell was ‘hurting everyone inside the home and we didn’t know what he was going to do.’”
The ISP also reported in their statement that Henry immediately called 911 following the shooting and could be heard by 911 operators to be issuing commands to the others in the home to apply first aid to the man he had just shot.
Mitchell was apparently staying in the home with Henry after he had gotten in trouble for another case of alleged domestic violence against an ex-girlfriend. WDRB also reported Mitchell had been convicted of domestic battery in January of last year, showing a pattern to his abusive behavior.