Police: Suspect in teen’s 2016 murder planned gas station ambush

Photos of the suspect's vehicle courtesy of IMPD.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– A light rain was falling in Indianapolis on the night of August 13, 2016, when Theothus Carter, 16, and his mother’s friend drove to the Conoco gas station/convenience store in the 4100 block of East 16th Street.

The teenager spent the day watching movies at his mother’s house nearby. Talishia Collier made her son a taco salad for dinner before she went out, leaving Theothus in the company of a man she thought of as her brother.

Minutes later, Carter was dead in the store’s parking lot, shot more than once, by a killer who was already there.

“From the surveillance footage the suspect was at the gas station prior to the victim arriving as if he was waiting for him,” said IMPD Homicide Det. Erika Jones. “As I look at the videotape I see the suspect vehicle pull up to the gas pump, wait for a few minutes, and drive over to the victim’s vehicle, pull up next to it, get out and fire shots into the victim vehicle and the decedent attempts to flee from the car, falls down and dies.”

Carter and his mother’s friend apparently made a spur-of-the-moment decision to visit the store to pick up candy and Swisher Sweets cigars.

“He wasn’t followed there,” said Jones, “They were waiting for him. They were waiting specifically for him to shoot him. They lied in wait for him.”

Collier got a phone call from the man she entrusted with her son’s safety telling her that Theothus was dead.

“I got there and I’m looking and looking and I didn’t see him but I seen the police officer putting up yellow tape and I know what yellow tape is when they put it up,” she said.

Collier recalled that her son had recently been involved in a dust up with another teenager before the shooting.

“He had gotten into an incident the day before with a little boy, and I don’t know who the little boy is,” she said. “And he told his friends, ‘Don’t tell mommy.’”

Jones said the parking lot was full of people, some of whom admitted to what they had seen.

“According to eye witnesses, the suspect and the victim exchanged words just prior to the suspect firing into the vehicle,” said Jones, who viewed surveillance video of a black Kia Sorrento driving away westbound on 16th Street to Dequincy Street. “There definitely was a passenger and that’s one thing I want to get out there is that there is at least one other person in this suspect vehicle that knows exactly what happened that night.”

Collier suspects maybe someone Theothus trusted led him to his death and others she knows are keeping that informant’s secret.

“They know something but they’re scared to say something,” Collier said, tears rolling down her face as she asked for help. “Even if it’s a little bit of information, say something.”

If you know who was driving that black Kia Sorento last August 13th, the night Theothus Carter died, call Crimestoppers of Central Indiana at (317) 262-TIPS. Tipsters can remain anonymous. Crimestoppers offeres a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.