INDIANAPOLIS — After a peaceful lull it appears teen violence is on the rise in downtown Indianapolis.
Three people were arrested and one man was subdued with a stun gun as eastside gang members outnumbered and out battled uniformed IMPD officers and security officers at Circle Centre Saturday night.
Aaron Gill was celebrating his girlfriend’s birthday at the mall when he saw a security officer attempt to escort the leader or more than a dozen teens from the property for rowdy behavior.
“Two of the black males in question started getting unruly and disrespectful and threatening the police officer,” said Gill. “They got into a tussle on the escalator going from the 2nd floor to the 1st floor.”
Gill said he handed his packages to his girlfriend and prepared himself to assist the officers.
“I snatched one of the males out from behind one of the police officers because he was trying to put the police officer in a choke hold and myself and one of the mom and pop officers actually took him down to the ground.”
Gill was assisted by adults hired by Simon Mall’s to walk Circle Centre on weekend nights to interact with teens.
“They would’ve been outmanned most definitely because there was not enough officers and there were not enough security officers in the mall officer at the time.”
As the officer called for help, more mall security personnel along with downtown IMPD officers and even federal agents responded to Circle Centre as Gill said the gang members not directly involved in the fight fed the chaos.
“Chaos meaning multiple people screaming.”
After three minutes the fight was over, a stun gun was deployed, Daron Washington, 19, and two other teens were in handcuffs and Gill’s hand was slightly injured.
“This gentleman literally turned around on the escalator and charged at the police officer.”
Simon Malls did not respond to a request for comment.
Metro Police Chief Rick Hite characterized the incident as a typical Saturday night crowd control problem downtown and an indicator of the need for the public’s help in stemming teen violence in the city’s core.
Hite maintained that the youth Gill tackled was not attacking the police officer but was after another teen.
Gill said a “mall mom” was also caught up in the melee.
As of December 15th, overall crime in downtown Indianapolis showed a two percent decrease from late 2011.
While the Super Bowl was peaceful in February, just a month later four teens were shot along the downtown canal.
Since that time, stepped up patrols and enforcement kept the peace despite a decision by former Public Safety Director Frank Straub to restrict the deployment of off-duty police officers downtown.
Rev. Charles Harrison of the Ten Point Coalition, which provides volunteers to walk downtown streets on weekend nights, told Fox 59 News that teen violence has seen an upsurge since Thanksgiving including a recent fight outside the mall when an ammunition magazine from a pistol was dropped in the street.