Neighbors upset over Richmond Hill announcement


Prosecutors met Monday evening with residents of a south Indianapolis neighborhood affected by a deadly explosion.

Leaving the church after meeting with prosecutors, one homeowner said, "We're not ready to talk yet."

Many residents of Richmond Hill felt the same, still trying to piece their lives together after the explosion nine days ago. Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced Monday the explosion is now being treated as a criminal homicide.

"I think, for the most part, residents were expecting this. It didn't really come as a surprise," neighborhood watch coordinator Dough Aldridge said of the prosecutor's announcement.

"I think it's kind of scary someone might set off a gas explosion in their house," said resident Chris Sutton.

Neighbors have seen the news reports, they've seen investigators going through the piles of debris, they've heard serious questions raised about the version of events given by people who lived in the house that blew up.

"This didn't come as a surprise. We thought something like this was more than just an accident," Aldridge said.

While they may say little on camera, Aldridge says his neighbors are "mad...they're upset."

He says neighbors are not jumping to conclusions about the people whose house exploded, but, "Their house blew up. The focus is on them."

Monserrate Shirley and her boyfriend, Mark Leonard, have felt that focus and issued a statement Tuesday morning, through their attorney, after Prosecutor Terry Curry announced the criminal investigation.  They said they have cooperated throughout the investigation.

Aldridge says neighbors don't know the facts yet, but with a criminal probe underway, "I can't tell you what everybody is thinking but they're leaning toward that, and they're mad."

"Two people died, so it's very scary," said Sutton.

The announcement brought some relief to homeowners to know the investigation is focusing on the explosion being intentionally set, as opposed to something being wrong with their neighborhood's gas lines or their furnaces.