RISING SUN, IN (FOX19) - In February 2017, an off-duty Indiana conservation officer responded to a 911 call about a suspicious vehicle.
At some point, the officer got into a scuffle with Justin Holland, 25, who was later shot and killed by Kystie Jaehnen, according to police.
Holland's family is now suing Jaehnen, the officer, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The suit claims Jaehnen used excessive and unjustified deadly force in the shooting.
The Holland family has hired Cincinnati personal injury lawyer Blake Maislin.
"What we understand is our guy was parked legally in front of someone's house. It was taken out of context. The off-duty officer engages him and the woman comes out and shoots him," Maislin said Monday from his Walnut Hills office.
The incident took place on the 8300 block of State Route 56, in Rising Sun, Ind.
Witnesses told investigators Holland was overpowering the officer, and that a witness shot Holland in the shoulder after fearing for the officer's life. First aid was administered but Holland was later pronounced dead at Dearborn County Hospital.
State police said a search of Holland's vehicle revealed methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Toxicology results from his autopsy found meth, benzodiazepines, marijuana, methadone, and dextromethorphan in his system, according to the prosecutor.
"If the officer was truly in harm's way and he was going to die, she had the right to defend him," Maislin said. "But over and over what we have is a story of somebody engaging somebody else and claiming self-defense."
Friends have quickly come to Jaehnen's side by setting up a GoFundMe account, that, after just a few days has more than $10,000 in it.
"It was a life or death situation. When you have someone that is trying to get your gun deadly force is justified," said Sgt Bill Halbig, of the Aurora Police Department.
Halbig is also the Laughery Valley FOP #146 president. He calls the lawsuit "ridiculous."
"She didn't ask for it. She came to his aide and ended that deadly situation -- which could have been very deadly in my opinion to the conservation officer," Halbig said.