By Nancy Price and Angie Antonopoulos
Breann Leath’s friends from Southport remember a beautiful girl, inside and out, with a big, bright smile and presence that could light up a room. She was helpful, kind and a prayer warrior for others.
Sadly, this young woman lost her life as she tried to help another woman escape an abusive situation.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer was fatally shot while responding to a domestic disturbance call at an east side apartment complex near 21st Street and North Franklin Road shortly before 3 p.m. on April 9.
Leath, 24, a lifelong resident of Indianapolis, was taken to a hospital, where she died from her injuries.
Elliahs Dorsey, 27, faces preliminary charges of murder and attempted murder in connection with the shooting death.
Leath was a Southport High School graduate and a mother to a young son. She was also a graduate of IMPD’s 16th recruit class and a member of the Indiana Army National Guard.
Southport High School alumna, Cheyenne Caldwell graduated with Leath in 2014, and said she had classes with her since the seventh grade. “Bre was friendly to everyone she met,” Caldwell said. “She had the brightest smile, always laughing and having a good time. She truly lit up the room.”
A former classmate named Nicole recalls Leath as a lifesaver and as a friend, when they were classmates in middle school and high school. “Bre was an amazing person. In sixth grade due to bullying and other outside problems, I tried to commit suicide. When Bre found out something was wrong, she talked me into talking to my parents. I got help and was hospitalized. She also made sure to invite me to sleepovers, texted me when I missed school, invited me to events, and even just sat with me at lunch. She made sure that I never felt alone or an outcast. Because of her I survived sixth grade.”
Jan Cooney of Southport was Leath’s former Sunday school teacher at Glenns Valley Church when she was a little girl. “I don’t remember one time when this young lady wasn’t smiling,” Cooney said. “She would light up the whole room. We had prayer time each Sunday, and I know God hears all prayer, but as we would go around the circle, her prayers were full of heart and soul.
“When I saw the news reports, I saw the pride in her eyes in a photograph of her with her little boy. I hope he can understand someday and have the faith and hope in God that she had. I know she is in heaven now, but her little voice is still in my head and I will never forget the love she shared with the other children in my class.”
A Facebook post from the IMPD East District stated: “Always the shining example of what an IMPD Officer should be … Doing the right things for the right reason. Officer Leath … we will miss you. (Especially your smile.) Rest Easy, sister. We’ve got the watch from here.”
“It is with great sadness that Lydia and I mourn the loss of IMPD Officer Breann Leath,” said State Senator Jack. E Sandlin, who represents Indianapolis’ 36th District. “Having spent a career in law enforcement in Indianapolis I know we are fortunate to have many dedicated officers. It is particularly sad when we lose such a joyful and dedicated officer, especially one so young in her career. I’d ask that we pause and celebrate her life, thank God for her time with us, and remember and support her family. RIP Officer Breann Leath.”
“I mourn with the rest of Indiana the passing of Officer Breann Leath,” added State Senator Aaron Freeman, who represents District 32. “Anytime a public safety hero makes the ultimate sacrifice, it is tragic. However, the passing of Officer Leath hit me personally hard when you take into account her youth, her being a mom to a young child, a veteran and coming from a law enforcement family. She exemplified what bravery and selfless service looks like. Officer Leath will forever be remembered for her service to our city and I join our community in honoring her life. I pray for Officer Leath’s family and especially her young child.”
“Officer Leath gave her life as she answered the call of duty,” said Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb in a statement. “Janet and I are heartbroken for her family, friends and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. I ask every Hoosier to join me in honoring Officer Leath’s courageous service and dedication to her community. She will be forever remembered for being the finest among us.”
On Twitter, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett tweeted, “Officer Leath spent her career patrolling @IMPDEast, where her bright smile and positive attitude had a far-reaching impact on the community she served.”
A funeral service will be held today at 11 a.m. at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Due to COVID-10 guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the public will not be allowed for visitation or attending services in person.
As a memorial to Officer Leath, her patrol car will be on display at IMPD East District’s Headquarters, 201 N. Shadeland Ave. until this Friday for visitors who want to drive by to pay their respects. Visitors cannot gather around the vehicle but will be able to view it.
At the request of her family, the Central Indiana Police Foundation has established a fund in Leath’s honor to assist with burial arrangements and provide a trust for her child. To donate, go to cipf.foundation/officer-leath-fund.
The Central Indiana Police Foundation (CIPF) is a 501c3. Donations made to CIPF are tax deductible. The Tax ID code is 46-2417255.
ShopIMPD.com has been designated by the family of Officer Leath as the official source for t-shirts and other items. One hundred percent of proceeds will be directed to the Officer Breann Leath Memorial Fund of the Central Indiana Police Foundation.
Visit shopIMPD.com today to help recognize Officer Leath’s service and sacrifice.
For further information on how to honor Officer Leath, go to @IMPDNews Facebook.