INDIANAPOLIS – When he was a baby, Simeon Adams’ mother was found dead in the White River.
Shuttled from Indianapolis to Texas and back, growing up with an aunt and uncle, Adams’ scrapes with the law began in the summer of 2012 as he fled from an Indianapolis Metropolitan police officer downtown and ended with his incarceration, a month shy of his 17th birthday, for the murder of an expectant father on the city’s west side.
IMPD arrest and Marion County Juvenile Court records reveal Adams ran out of a handful of second chances in mid-March, days before an alleged crime spree that left one man dead, another man wounded, Adams shot in the neck and more than two dozen stolen guns possibly in the hands of children in his neighborhood.
“People were complaining that they were robbing houses, taking money from older people and displaying guns and getting into conflicts,” said Rev. Charles Harrison of Barnes United Methodist Church and Ten Point Coalition.
It was as the leader of the Coalition that Harrison first met Adams in verbal confrontation that came close to erupting into gunfire.
On Sunday night, March 30, Adams and three large groups of teenagers had congregated on the parking lot of the Marathon gas station and convenience store at 2900 Martin Luther King Jr. Street.
Eight days earlier a young man in camouflage clothes and a friend burglarized a gun store in Clermont and made off with 25 weapons.
Harrison and Coalition street workers approached Adams and told him it was time to leave the parking lot.
“Then Simeon started backing up and asking, ‘Why y’all behind me?’” said Harrison, recalling how two street workers took up positions behind Adams. “At that point I noticed a bulge in his sweater that he had on and at that point I knew he was armed and I was being signaled by the street outreach workers that he had a gun on him.”
Adams backed down when other youth, allies of Harrison’s who play basketball at his church, joined the pastor in the parking lot. A short time later, there was gunfire across the street at a Steak & Lemonade shop.
“We heard about seven to eight gunshots from across the street,” said Harrison, who watched as the group Adams was with scattered.
Erick Douglas told police Adams had bumped into him and began shooting. Adams faces an attempted murder charge for the Douglas shooting.
Harrison said the teen wasn’t the only one with a gun on the Marathon parking lot that night.
“We noticed other kids had guns, too, and we were later told by some other kids that all of the kids were armed with guns that night.
“Normally two or three kids will have a gun but it was unusual when all of the kids are carrying guns. That’s very unusual.”
About 36 hours later, on the morning of April 1, Nathan Trapuzzano, 24 years old and a newlywed awaiting the birth of a baby, was murdered while out for a walk in the 3500 block of West 16th Street.
The killer wore camouflage clothes.
Later that night, Adams was shot in the neck during a shooting in the 1100 block of West 35th Street. Another man had been shot there the weekend before.
Adams was rushed to Eskanazi Hospital, clad in camouflage clothes.
That same day, detectives interviewed Richard Pippens. He was found with a handgun that had been stolen from the Clermont gun store. He told police a teenager named “Red” had given him the gun. When shown a photo array, Pippens picked out “Red.”
His name was Simeon Adams.
Sources tell FOX59 News that other evidence linking Adams to the stolen guns has been recovered.
Harrison said he is worried that those stolen firearms are in the hands of children in his west side neighborhood.
“It’s obvious that night that all those teenagers had guns. I don’t know where those teenagers got the guns, but, we have been hearing that these teenagers have been robbing people and there are some individuals who have stated that they were hit in the head with those pistols, so, we’re very concerned that a bunch of kids have guns and where they got those guns, we don’t know,” he said.
The specter of the community being flooded with guns in the hands of teenagers before the end of school and the arrival of summer fills Harrison with dread.
“If this is going on now, we could have a very long summer. If we don’t really address this, and we have expressed some concerns to IMPD about all these kids with these guns, and I don’t know how we get ahold of them, but we got to get ahold of these kids and get ahold of these guns and get these kids off the street because these kids are carrying these guns with them and we’ve got to nip this in the bud now.”
The teenager who allegedly accompanied Adams at both the Douglas and Trapuzzano shootings is cooperating with police.
Adams faces an initial hearing on the murder charge Thursday morning. He is being housed with adults in the Marion County Jail.
A review of IMPD reports indicates arrests on four fleeing and resisting charges, three times with stolen vehicles, twice for burglary and theft and twice with handguns, one of them stolen.
In the summer of 2013, a juvenile probation officer told a judge that Adams’ “detention is essential to protect the child or the community.”
In mid-February, following his admission to auto theft and resisting charges, and the dropping of a handgun count, Adams was given 30 days home detention, 120 days monitored probation and the admonishment to attend school. Almost immediately Adams failed to follow his commitment and on March 17, a probation officer sought a hearing to have the teen incarcerated.
Judge Gary Chavers set that hearing for April 7, but within a few days, C & C Midwest Firearms was burglarized and Adams later went on a crime spree that culminated in murder, police said.
Had he finished his probation without further incident, Adams would have been free of the juvenile system in mid-June.