Police say dispute led to shooting at northwest side business

WTHR Photo: Steve Jefferson

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Two men who work on cars are recovering from gunshot wounds after they got into a gun battle on Indy’s northwest side.

The shootout stems from an ongoing dispute between mechanics and ended at the AutoZone near W. 30th Street and Lafayette Road in gunfire.

IMPD first reported the incident as road rage. But an Eyewitness News interview with driver and mechanic Dell Howard Sr. explains what all went down moments before the shooting and why it culminated in a gun battle to start with. Howard came very close to getting injured by gunfire like his passenger, who is also a mechanic.

"I thought I got hit but it was glass that hit my face," Howard said.

One of the people involved in the shooting was actually a friend and passenger of Howard's. He explained to Eyewitness News that they have been asked not to work on vehicles outside the AutoZone anymore, which is in the Eagledale Shopping Plaza on Lafayette Road. That’s where some mechanics have been able to make decent money from people needing their cars or trucks worked on after buying products from AutoZone, according to Howard.

Tuesday afternoon, Howard said they crossed paths with a man who goes by the nickname "Chaos." He said they've had an ongoing dispute with Chaos about who gets to work on cars outside the AutoZone. Unfortunately, that is also where things heated up, according to Howard, who explained that Chaos thought they were entering the plaza to do mechanical work.

"He cut us off right there and jumped out the car with a gun, saying you all are going to stop F-ing with me," said Howard. "My buddy that I ride with, basically he jumped out with his gun and my buddy jumped out with his gun and they started having a gun battle."

Howard showed Eyewitness News a bullet hole in his windshield he claims is from the other mechanic who opened fire first. The bullet itself hit the backseat Howard says only because he was able to get out of the way.

"It had to go over my shoulder because I ducked down and I saw where he pulled the trigger and I ducked down some more and that bullet went right by me," said Howard.

Paramedics took Howard's passenger and the other mechanic to the hospital with gunshot wounds. The parking lot outside the store was full of shell casings. An aggravated assault detective from IMPD is trying to piece together what all went down. Howard told Eyewitness News that police are aware of the previous alleged violence by the mechanic who opened fire on his car.

Either way, it's a situation Dell Howard never wants to be in ever again.

“It was scary, real scary, sitting between two people firing at each other. That's a scary situation," said Howard.

As part of the investigation, officers on the scene put down evidence markers before they collected the shell casings. Howard is hoping after his very close call, somebody is held responsible. IMPD called for a wrecker service to tow away the other mechanic's car. Howard drove his car from the scene with the bullet hole in the windshield. He plans to drop off his buddy’s dog, which was in the car during the shootout, and then head to the hospital to check on his fellow mechanic.

Filed under: