INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Family and friends of a military veteran are mourning her death after she was fatally shot on the south side of Indianapolis Sunday morning.
It's believed that Erin Mills, 34, and her fiancé were returning to Southport Crossing apartments after buying groceries when they encountered an armed man in the parking lot. The suspect shot both Mills and her fiancé.
Mills later died from her injuries. Her fiancé was transported to the hospital in serious condition, and he’s said to be recovering from multiple gunshot wounds.
Police say the man who shot the couple was likely trying to rob them, and they believe the same suspect could be responsible for an armed robbery in the same apartment complex an hour after the fatal shooting. The suspect is described as a male dressed in all black and wearing a mask.
Mills was an Army veteran, and she was planning on studying to become a teacher.
She was also a member of Mount Pleasant Christian Church in Greenwood. Mills’ mother, Debi Green, and grandparents are also longtime members of the church.
Mount Pleasant Senior Pastor, Chris Philbeck, says he received news of Mills’ death shortly before Sunday morning services began. He announced the news to the congregation, asking for prayers for the grieving family.
“Initially, I think we need to just let people grieve,” Philbeck said. “And just grieve as openly and honestly as possible to express all of their feelings, from deep sadness to confusion and sort through those things so that they can get to the other side and find a way to go on.”
Pastor Philbeck says news of Mills’ murder came as a shock to him and the whole church. But in the aftermath of the shootings, he believes church members will step in to support Green and other family members.
“They’re prayer warriors, they’re praying behind the scenes all the time,” Philbeck said. “They’re encouragers in a variety of different ways, they come alongside. And I know all that will happen as we just lift her up.”
Mount Pleasant has special counseling and ministry programs to help people who are experiencing tragic events. Philbeck also expects church members will reach out to offer help on an individual basis, such as delivering meals to the family’s home
“She’s trying to sort through her daughter’s things, she’s trying to sort through pictures, she’s trying to sort through her emotions,” Philbeck said. “And she’s got to plan a funeral service. And what we will do is come alongside and help take a lot of that burden off of her in any way that we can.”
“Love walks in and gets up close and personal when these kinds of things happen,” he said. “And that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Philbeck is also asking the community to pray for Mills’ fiancé as he continues recovery from his injuries.
Authorities are asking for anyone with information on this shooting or the robbery to call police immediately or contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS. This is the second fatal shooting at the apartment complex in the past month.