8 shot, 2 killed in west side Indianapolis shooting

Detectives at the scene marked shell casings on the ground
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Indianapolis - Detectives are looking for the person who opened fire on a group of people at a birthday party on the city's west side just after midnight . Eight people were hit, and two died. Metro Police are looking for two people, the gunman and his driver.

About 35 people were outside having a barbecue in the 1200 block of West 32nd Street when a gunman wearing a mask stepped out of a passing car and fired an assault-style weapon 30 times.

"Someone got out of a vehicle, put a mask on over their face and pulled out the long gun and started firing. You can imagine the pandemonium," said IMPD Lt. Jeff Duhamell.

Some of the people returned fire, leading police to believe there would be bullet holes in the suspect's vehicle. Spent shell casings littered the street.

"It sounded like a World War II movie. That's what it sounded like," said Michael Harris, who is the boyfriend of a shooting victim. "The violence is so bad. You don't know who is gonna go. You don't know why they gonna go. She never did nothing to nobody. She was a good girl."

"[I was] just talking to Barbara, handed her a cigarette, walked right here to the back of the car, that's when...fireworks," said Tovy Richardson, Barbara Johnson's cousin. "I was running for fear of my life, trying to get away."

"People lost their lives on foolishness. It is unacceptable," said Shawanna Harlin, a relative of one of the victims.

Metro Police released the identities of the victims Tuesday. Barbara Johnson, 37, and Charles Mays, 54, died at the scene. The shooting occurred in the 1200 block of West 32nd Street.

Johnson lived at the home where the shootings occurred. Mays had just pulled up on his bicycle and police say he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"I just wish everyone would understand we're not just hurting the adults. We're hurting the kids because there's nephews and nieces and a granddaughter who have to now deal with the death of their family member," said Natasha Jones, who is Charles Mays' daughter. "He had no enemies. He was always helping, gracious. Every time you saw him, he was dancing and laughing. He was wonderful."

The six people taken local hospitals with gunshot wounds were: Jewel Dotson, 21, Kendall Hill, 25, Prinsonia Johnson, 54, Willie Battles, 28, Nakeisha Morris, 24 and Tamera Williams, 32.

All of the victims were from Indianapolis. Morris, Williams and Battles were treated and released. Kendall Hill is in good condition.

There is no information on the conditions of Jewel Dotson or Prinsonia Johnson, although at last check, Johnson was in intensive care.

Metro Police found two vehicles that appeared to have bullet holes from the shooting. One was a silver Dodge Charger, located in the 1100 block of W. Congress Ave. No one inside the Charger was injured.

Detectives were looking for a 300 Dodge Chrysler as a possible suspect vehicle. At approximately 9:00 am, a silver/green 300 Chrysler was located in 1300 block of West Roache Ave. The vehicle had been shot several times. The vehicle that was found parked and unoccupied was towed for further investigation.

The first report of shots fired came into police at 12:05 a.m. Tuesday, near the 1200 block of W. 25th Street, several blocks to the south. Thirteen minutes later, another report of shots came from the same vicinity and a minute later, the first report of a person shot on W. 32nd Street was called in to police.

"The bottom line is we have eight people shot and two deceased and that's what's sad about this whole situation," Lt. Duhamell said. "It sounded like they were having a good time, a party, basically a birthday party kind of thing and what the motive is, we just don't know."

At the scene, detectives marked shell casings on the ground and officers from other districts were called in to help control a crowd that had gathered at the scene.

Emergency responders took four victims to Methodist Hospital and two to Wishard Hospital. Police found a couple of the victims driving to the hospital.

"A car was stopped there, they had two individuals that were shot in that vehicle. My understanding, that vehicle was en route to the hospital. So, we basically stopped that vehicle not knowing what was going on, two people in that vehicle that were shot probably coming from 32nd and Elmira," Lt. Duhamell said.

Family spent the morning outside Methodist hospital praying for the victims. They couldn't believe one woman shot multiple times was awake and talking.

"She got shot in the head, in her wrist, in her arm and in her leg with an AK-47. She's talking, but she's got twin boys and she said when it was happening she started thinking about her twin boys," said family member Angela Gammons. "They were supposed to be moving tonight, but this happened, going to support somebody's barbecue and they just opened fire on them like it was nothing. Like they was dogs in the street, like they didn't have no life at all."

Neighborhood activist Kim Flowers is missing her friend, Johnson, who had just started an HIV/STD testing program.

"She was a good person and she was making a difference in our community. She cared about the people, cared about their health," Flowers said.

Mays' brother said the barbecue king wanted to buy up vacant houses and open them up to the elderly. But that dream is gone, too.

"We're angry that it keeps happening and it's all senseless killings," said Roderick Mays. "Really, this has to stop."

The victims were remembered at the National Night Out Tuesday down the street from the crime scene. Indianapolis Deputy Police Chief William Benjamin asked neighbors to come forward with information about the crime by calling Crime Stoppers at 262-TIPS.