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Families of victims speak out after deadly shooting at Castleton Square Mall

A 16-year-old boy was shot and killed Tuesday night in the mall's parking lot.

INDIANAPOLIS — It was a tragedy that changed several families' lives forever.

"You send your kids to the mall, you expect them to come home," said Pastor Eddie Smith. "You don't expect them to be living in a battlefield or something."

The senior pastor at Tuxedo Park Baptist Church is the father of man wounded Tuesday in a shooting outside of Castleton Square Mall.

Smith said Thursday that his son is in stable condition at the hospital after being shot in the leg four times. He said it happened when his son and two others were walking out of the mall Tuesday night.

"This case all boils down to, unequivocally, somebody reaching for the door handle of the wrong car and there was an identical car," said Smith.

He said witnesses told him that simple mistake turned deadly.

"There was a car in the proximity, the same exact car and the kid went to the back door and somebody was in the back door and they immediately started shooting," he said.

Smith said witnesses told him the shooter then got out of the car, "and shot the kid some more while he was lying on the ground and then he began running behind my son and shot him."

Sixteen-year-old Michael Mason was killed.

"Michael was the joy of my life," said Mason's grandmother, Romona Hollins Watkins. "He was everything you would want in a child, and I wanted to protect him, but God had his time to take him."

Credit: Family photo
Michael Mason, 16, was shot and killed outside Castleton Square Mall Tuesday night.

Watkins saw Mason just before he left for the mall.

"I saw a shooting on Citizen, and I said, 'Let me check on my grandbaby,' because we had just talked earlier," but Watkins said she received a phone call from authorities before she could call her grandson.

She said she'll always remember the last thing she said to him.

"He said, 'Granny, I love you.' I said, 'I love you too, but be careful,'" said Watkins. "That was the words. Never could imagine."

Smith said Mason and his son knew each other.

"My son would play basketball with him and his cousins and kind of mentor them," he said. "Now one of your mentees is gone and they were with you. When I tell you the emotions run the gamut my son has to live with, a kid that he was responsible for is dead."

Over something Smith calls absolutely senseless.

"My son said, 'I even tried to tell this guy, I'm sorry, I have a car just like yours.' Nothing, and still shot them," Smith said.

IMPD has not identified the shooter by name nor arrested anyone in connection to this shooting.

The Marion County prosecutor requested an appointment of a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation due to a conflict of interest. The court granted that request. 

Anyone with information that can help police in their investigation is being asked to call Det. Gary Smith at the IMPD Homicide Office at 317-327-3475 or email him at Gary.Smith@indy.gov. Anonymous tips can be called in to Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-TIPS.

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