INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A 4-year-old girl, a 16-year-old girl and three men were shot Saturday outside a funeral home on the near-northwest side, and the 4-year-old was in critical condition at Riley Hospital for Children, police said.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and medical crews were sent to a report of shots fired about 4:35 p.m. Saturday at Sprowl Funeral & Cremation Care, 1134 W. 30th St. That’s southwest of the I-65 interchange for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street.
Investigators believe only one shooter was involved, and the shooting was not believed to be a random act, said Officer Genae Cook in an impromptu news conference at West 30th and Clifton streets. At that intersection, police were surrounding a car. The mother of a 4-year-old was trying to use the car to take the injured girl to a hospital when medics arrived; the mother was not hurt.
Police believe a man got out of a vehicle, approached a vehicle in a narrow parking lot next to the funeral home, and an argument began. One man then began randomly shooting around the parking lot and at a truck, Cook said. The altercation is believed to have begun with someone inside the funeral home.
It’s a location that is just two blocks away from Barnes United Methodist Church, where Rev. Charles Harrison serves as pastor.
“Heart was just broken by this. This is just senseless,” Rev. Harrison said. “There’s no place now that seems to be off-limits.”
Some of the members of Harrison’s church are relatives to the gunshot victims.
“”You cannot even have a funeral without there being violence at a funeral,” Rev. Harrison said.
An IMPD news release issued about four hours after the shooting said, “Preliminary information gathered from the scene led detectives to believe an adult male was dropped off in the parking lot and then began conversing with another person sitting in a vehicle, in the parking lot, of the funeral home. An altercation began and a male began shooting in the parking lot. The suspect left the scene prior to the officer’s arrival. Detectives affirm the incident occurred outside of the funeral home in the parking lot.”
No shots were believed to have been fired inside the funeral home.
The 16-year-old girl was stable at Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital.
One of the men was stable at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital-Indianapolis.
Shortly after the shooting, two other men at separate times walked into IU Health Methodist Hospital with gunshot wounds. Those men were stable. “We believe that both of those people were involved, or were here at the scene at one point or another,” she said.
The 4-year-old girl was part of a group attending a funeral.
Cook said, “It’s a shame, you know, here we are at a funeral home, where family is gathered to send their condolences to their own family, and next thing you know we have additional people injured. You know, this isn’t the way that Indianapolis operates. We need to think about our actions, think about what we do.”
“Pulling a weapon is no way to solve a problem”
The person being memorialized at the funeral was not a crime victim in Indianapolis.
It was unknown if the shooting suspect was going to the funeral.
Police were interviewing people who attended the funeral and watching surveillance video from the area, Cook said.
Anyone with information about this incident was asked to contact Detective Justin Gray of the IMPD aggravated assault office at 317-327-3475 or Justin.Gray@indy.gov.
IMPD tweeted at 5:49 p.m., “Traffic Alert: The 1100 block of W 30th near Clifton is shut down due to an active investigation. Please seek an alternate route. PIO is at the scene.”
The Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit corporation, says Saturday’s crime was the eighth mass shooting in Indianapolis and the 11th in Indiana in 2021. The group defines a mass shooting as having a minimum of four victims shot, either injured or killed, not including any shooter who may also have been killed or injured in the incident.
“This afternoon our community witnessed yet another violent incident, this time with multiple victims including a young child. Tonight our thoughts are with all those impacted, including those injured in the shooting, their families, and a neighborhood scarred by a cowardly act. Far too many residents have borne the consequences of the combination of firearms and failed conflict resolution and I join a frustrated community in calling for an end to this cycle of violence.
“IMPD and the City of Indianapolis will continue to try every solution, incorporate every best practice we can. But we cannot do it alone. It will take neighbors sharing information, supporting those who are hurting, intervening when someone is headed down a dangerous path.
“I urge anyone with information on this incident to share what they know and contact Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.”
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett