INDIANAPOLIS (October 19, 2015) - The weekend death of a 15-year-old is still largely a mystery to investigators looking for those involved.
Daniel Burns Jr. was found dead with a gunshot wound around noon Saturday inside the doorway of an apartment in the Villas at Meridian Hills. Police have confirmed that neither the teen nor his family lived in the apartment complex. The apartment unit Burns was found in was supposed to be vacant, but there were signs of recent activity inside the unit.
“We don’t know why Daniel Burns was in that actual apartment and what he was doing immediately preceding his death,” said IMPD Lt. Richard Riddle.
Neighbors who live in the building say there has been frequent drug use inside the apartment, but nobody reported hearing gunshots or a disturbance in the hours before Burns’ body was found.
“I was here that morning,” said Susan Fletcher, who lives upstairs from the apartment unit. “My husband got home and he says have you seen outside, and I’m like what are you talking about? And he says there’s police outside. And that’s when we learned. I mean it was totally quiet.”
It’s not known if Burns was shot in the apartment, or at another location.
“Someone knows what happened,” Riddle said. “Don’t know if they’re not coming forward due to fear, or just don’t want to cooperate. But obviously, we need their cooperation in order to solve this case for the family.”
Police records indicate Burns has had several run-ins with police. In June, he was arrested for allegedly pointing a gun at a witness who caught him in the act of illegally entering a vehicle. He was arrested twice in December, once for the alleged theft of a Playstation 3 system from a nearby neighbor, and once following a violent confrontation with his mother.
Detectives want to find out who Burns had been spending time with recently, hoping to trace his steps to those involved with his death.
If investigators officially conclude that Burns’ death was caused by his gunshot wound, Burns would be the fifth Indianapolis juvenile to be murdered with a gun since the start of the school year.
“The cases that we have solved and we have made arrests on are teenagers killing other teenagers with firearms,” Riddle said. “And that’s concerning to us.”
Late Monday afternoon, IMPD units surrounded the same apartment building where Burns was found. Officers could be seen chasing at least one male who was carrying a handgun. A search of the building ended with nobody being apprehended. But officers did locate a firearm that was apparently discarded inside the building during the chase. Police later said the search was related to a possible drug suspect in the complex, and they do not believe it is related to the weekend homicide.
Anyone with information about the death of Daniel Burns Jr. is asked to contact IMPD, or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at (317) 262-TIPS.