Family seeks clues in unsolved murder of man on near north side

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – It was a cold Sunday night six years ago, on February 12, 2012, when Robert Penner got into an argument with a distant relative at his mother’s house over a car that the younger man borrowed and “trashed.”

About 20 minutes later, Penner was mortally wounded, half in half out of his car, in the middle of the 2300 block of Kenwood Avenue, where IMPD Homicide Detective Doug Cook thinks the doomed man went to resolve the borrowed vehicle dispute.

Cook suspects Penner was shot inside a house on the north end of the block with a .22 rifle at close range, leaving no visible crime scene or blood trail, as he escaped in his car.

There was a friend with Penner, said Cook, who refuses to cooperate, as does the younger distant relative who was in the argument.

In Penner’s car, detectives found a WWII style military carbine rifle in the front seat. .

Penner’s mother helped police fill in the blanks of the unsolved murder puzzle.

“My brother called me and said that was Wook that got killed on Kenwood,” Priscilla Ray recalled, using the nickname everyone called her son. “He was shot three times. One went in his leg. One went in the back part of his neck and the other one shot him in the back and went through his heart and stuff.”

A couple days later, a woman related to the man who argued with Penner reached out to Ray.

“It was a call and it was his auntie who said her nephew shot him but she couldn’t prove it because she wasn’t there,” said Ray. “He was locked up but he kept asking for an attorney. He turned himself in on the 17th was the day we had his funeral.

“I think he turned himself in to get off the streets.”

Cook agrees with Ray that a handful of acquaintances know why Robert Penner was killed and who pulled the trigger.

“It’s real frustrating,” said Ray, “ because somebody knows and we know somebody knows because the guy that was with him he knows but Detective Cook says it gonna have to be somebody that’s facing real real hard time before they will talk.”

If you have any information about the unsolved killing of Robert Penner on Kenwood Avenue six years ago, call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS. Your information could result in a $1,000 reward.