INDIANAPOLIS — Witnesses in the shooting of three Dutch soldiers over the weekend in downtown Indianapolis told police the suspect was "looking for trouble" and appeared to be intoxicated when he argued, fought and then fired shots at them.
Shamar Duncan, 22, was with two other men when he encountered the soldiers, then shot them in front of the Hampton Inn near Monument Circle about 4 a.m. Saturday, according to a probable cause affidavit.
One of the soldiers, Simmie Poetsema, 26, was killed in the shooting. An autopsy determined he suffered a single gunshot wound to the head, causing a skull fracture and severe damage to the brain. His death was ruled a homicide.
Poetsema was a first-class corporal, according to The Netherlands Ministry of Defense.
The defense ministry has said the soldiers were training at Muscatatuk Urban Training Center in Jennings County.
Officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department were dispatched about 4 a.m. to the 100 block of Meridian Street, where the hotel is located, for a report of three people shot.
When police arrived, they found at least six shell casings on meridian Street and blood on the sidewalk. They found the soldiers suffering gunshot wounds inside the hotel, according to the affidavit.
People in the soldiers' group told police they had just left a club and were heading to their hotel for the night when Duncan and two other people "bumped into" their group, leading to an argument and then a physical altercation.
A witness said the group of soldiers tried to diffuse the situation but the other group was "just looking for a fight," according to the affidavit.
At some point during the fight, one of the people in Duncan's group got knocked out with a punch. The soldiers then continued toward the hotel.
Someone in Duncan's group then yelled "Unlock the car, I'm going to go get a strap" before they got into a pickup truck, made a U-turn, pulled up to the hotel and fired several shots.
Someone in the soldier's group told police they heard four to six shots and saw glass shattering, then saw the pickup leaving the scene. The witness then tended to one of the soldiers, who had been shot in the thigh, until medics arrived.
Detectives later located the pickup driven by Duncan's group using descriptions provided by witnesses and video taken at the scene. When police found the vehicle, many of its key identifiers, including lights, a toolbox and reflective stripes, had been removed.
It was then that police saw a male get into the pickup and later took him into custody. During an interview, that person told police his group had gone to Broad Ripple before ending up downtown, where he said someone brushed up against one of the people he was with. That led to pushing and shoving, and eventually, shooting.
He told police he was driving off when Duncan shot out of the back of the truck. The man said he got mad and yelled at Duncan, to which he responded, "I just spazzed."
Police later obtained and executed a search warrant on the pickup truck. Inside, they recovered two live rounds of 9mm ammunition from inside a pair of pants and another round near the center console, according to court documents.
Duncan was arrested Tuesday in the 10000 block of John Marshal Drive. Detectives saw him get into a car with another person and stopped the vehicle before taking him into custody.
During an interview, Duncan told police his group was intoxicated and walking to a club when they encountered the soldiers. He said they were walking away and thought the soldiers were following them, which led to the alleged altercation.
Duncan declined to tell police what happened after his group went back to their truck.
On Thursday, Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears announced that Duncan had been charged with a single count of murder and disorderly conduct and two counts of attempted murder.
"We are deeply saddened by this tragedy and appreciate the grace and kindness of the family during this tremendously difficult time," Mears said in a written statement. "Today's announcement would not be possible without the collaborative efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies, deputy prosecutors, and members of the community who came forward and provided invaluable information."
IMPD Chief Randal Taylor offered condolences to the victims' families and called the shooting a "senseless act". He continued, "Gun violence has no place in our city and IMPD is committed to ensuring trigger-pullers are found and arrested."
Duncan has not yet been scheduled for an initial court appearance.
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