Juvenile charged with reckless homicide in parking garage shooting


A juvenile male has been charged with reckless homicide in the shooting death of a teenager at a downtown Indianapolis parking garage.

Officers were called just after 3 a.m. Sunday to the parking garage of the JW Marriott hotel in the 600 block of West Washington on the report of a person shot. When they arrived, they found 17-year-old Darnell Franklin suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to his back.  He was transported to Wishard Hospital where he later died from his wounds.

Franklin and five friends and family members drove in the same car to the Marriott Hotel to meet some female friends. 

Based on interviews with the others in the car, they were not at any Indiana Black Expo events, but came down after, not arriving until nearly 3:00 am. While they were still in the car, one of the passengers in the backseat reached down to pick a gun up from the floorboard of the car, with his finger on the trigger, accidentally shooting Darnell in the back.

The Marion County Prosecutor's Office later charged the juvenile male with a felony count of reckless homicide and a misdemeanor charge of carrying a handgun without a license. It has not yet been determined if he will be tried as an adult.

"As we progressed into this investigation it became clear that we were facing challenges in terms of parental responsibility and guidance," said IMPD Chief Rick Hite. "We need to pursue open discussions with the community about handguns, youth violence and curfew laws to combat this crisis."
The Marriott Place released a statement about the shooting on Sunday: 

"We can confirm there was an incident in our garage that the police are investigating.  It is our understanding this involves a fatality and our thoughts and prayers go out to the deceased and his family.  At this time the police are investigating the incident and we are cooperating fully with the authorities. The police have indicated they believe this to be an isolated incident. As this is an ongoing investigation it would be inappropriate to comment further.

"As always, the safety and well-being of our guests and associates are among our highest priorities."

The shooting was a tragic end to an otherwise great weekend in Indianapolis. There was one Summer Celebration-related arrest on Friday, no curfew violations and just a few citations over the course of the weekend.
Quite a bit of planning, effort and manpower were dedicated to providing a successful and safe family atmosphere for thousands of people in the downtown area.