Suspects sought in shooting involving Pacers player


Emily Longnecker/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - Metro Police are investigating a shooting downtown involving an Indiana Pacers player.

Police say Pacers' guard Jamaal Tinsley was the target of gunfire outside the Conrad Hotel early Sunday morning. Tinsley and a group of people were leaving "Cloud 9," a club on 38th Street on the city's northwest side, in three different vehicles around 3 a.m. All of the cars were registered to Tinsley. As they attempted to leave, police say another group of people gathered around one of the vehicles in the parking lot, leading to a confrontation.

"The Tinsley group had just walked out to their car and they were confronted by these individuals around the car," IMPD Sergeant Paul Thompson said. "So it escalated from there, and I believe the other parties are the ones that did the escalating."

Tinsley's group left, but realized they were being followed and drove downtown, pulling into the Conrad Hotel instead of going to Tinsley's home. Shortly after they pulled into the hotel, shots were fired from at least one other vehicle, striking two of the cars in Tinsley's group.

One of the cars, Tinsley's Rolls Royce, had several people inside including Tinsley, though he was unhurt. Pacers equipment manager Joey Qatato was struck in both elbows and transported to Methodist Hospital.

"The victim walked in under his own power, came into the hotel, did have a wound, sitting down on some of the furniture in our lobby and obviously needed help," said Greg Tinsley of the Conrad Hotel. Tinsley is no relation to the Pacers player.

No one was injured in the second vehicle that was struck.

"The shell casings that were recovered are the .223 caliber," said Sgt. Thompson. "It is a very powerful weapon and could easily penetrate the metal on a car."

Two cars with the Tinsley group chased the shooters to Monument Circle and fired back.

"James Tinsley, his brother who has a gun permit, did return fire at the vehicle that was shooting at them," Sgt. Thompson said.

Police say if the shooting happened at a busier time, there definitely could have been more victims. A bullet hole found in the door frame of a restaurant adjacent to the Conrad's main entrance reinforces that theory.

Investigators will take the evidence they have collected to the prosecutor's office, who will decide if charges should be filed against James Tinsley for adding to the bullets by firing back. Another man with the Tinsley group, 31-year-old Antoine Toon, was arrested for an unrelated warrant from Georgia.

Police are still searching for the suspects who apparently initiated the shooting, describing the vehicles they used as a gray Chrysler and a dark pickup truck.