John Yingling’s day started just like any other as he pulled out of the driveway on the south side, talking to his wife on the phone as they did almost every day.
But his wife heard something out of the ordinary during that conversation—someone else in the background.
“The next she heard was, ‘Give me your money and your wallet.’ And they ended up just shooting him in the head,” said Brian Hatfield, Yingling’s brother-in-law.
Yingling, a 38-year-old father of two, died after being shot in his driveway by someone he’d never met.
“He’s a great guy, he’s helped me and my wife out over the years,” Hatfield said. “I’ve known him for 15 years. He’s a really nice guy.”
The shooting that killed Yingling may have been connected to a series of crimes around the city Wednesday, according to investigators. That spree included a bank robbery on the north side and the shooting of a man on the west side as he was walking his dog.
Police arrested two juveniles ages 15 and 17 in connection with the spree, which ended in a crash near Brownsburg that included four vehicles.
But for those who know Yingling, their focus is on the man who died without any explanation in a community where neighbors said such things rarely happen.
”I’ve lived here 26 to 27 years and we’ve never had anything like this on this street,” said Carla Windisch, a neighbor.
The shooting that killed Yingling prompted Southport Elementary School to recall buses and go on lockdown as a precautionary measure.
“It’s a bit unusual down here. No question about that. But we’ll find out where the leads take us and find out what really happened,” said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.
Detectives looking into Yingling’s murder were also investigating a series of robberies on the south side.
“I believe there (were) three robberies before this incident. And another one afterwards,” said Gregory Bieberich, IMPD deputy chief.
The SUV seen after the shooting that killed Yingling was apparently stolen from the southeast side early Wednesday morning. Witnesses saw a similar vehicle near the scene of a robbery at a Chase Bank location on the north side later in the morning. That same vehicle was also spotted after a shooting on the west side that led to the chase and crash near Brownsburg.