UPDATE (Nov. 17, 2023): The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office charged Mulkey with murder and two counts of pointing a firearm. A pretrial conference is scheduled for Jan. 16, 2024.
SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Court records reveal a jammed rifle led to a deadly shooting inside a Speedway home that left a 17-year-old dead and a 19-year-old in jail.
Speedway Police were initially dispatched to the area of 2200 North Auburn Street at approximately 2:10 a.m. Sunday morning to investigate a report they received about a person shot. After they arrived in the area, police spoke with a juvenile who claimed he witnessed the deadly shooting.
While the witness couldn’t provide an exact address, police eventually located the scene at a home on W 22nd St.
Inside the home, police found a 17-year-old unresponsive at the top of the basement steps.
The victim, later identified by the Marion County Coroner’s Office as Caiden Clements, was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to court records, multiple witnesses told police the suspect and a group of juveniles were messing around with a rifle in the basement of this home when the weapon went off, but those witnesses gave conflicting accounts about whether the shooting an accident or intentional.
Following the investigation on scene, 19-year-old Benjamin Mulkey was arrested for murder. A SPD press release indicates Mulkey did not attempt to leave the scene of the crime.
According to a probable cause affidavit released on Monday, officers were initially called to Auburn Street because the teen who witnessed the shooting on 22nd Street fled the scene to look for help.
In an interview with police, the witness claimed Mulkey told him not to contact police. So, he hopped over a fence near 22nd Street and began to seek help.
Court documents indicate the witness’ search for help led him to Auburn Street, where he knocked on the back patio door of a person’s house.
Police records indicate 15 minutes passed between the time dispatch received the call about the shooting to the time they located the victim.
Court documents report that, during an interview with police, the witness said the incident began when Mulkey pulled a rifle out from under a bed and began passing it around at a gathering at the 22nd Street address.
The witness said that, at some point while the gun was being passed around, a magazine was loaded into the rifle. Court documents indicate one of the gathering’s attendees pulled the rifle’s charging handle, allowing a round to feed into the chamber.
The witness told police they grabbed the rifle in an attempt to eject the live round. Mulkey then allegedly got mad and took the gun from the witness.
According to court documents, the witness told police he advised Mulkey that the gun had a live round in the chamber and that the safety was not on. The witness indicated that Mulkey asked the group who loaded the round into the gun.
Court documents report that someone at the party said Clements loaded the gun. The witness told police Mulkey then pointed the gun at Clements and fired a single round.
Police reported that another witnesses told them Mulkey accidentally fired a round at Clements. According to court documents, one witness said the gun’s ejector may have been broken and that Mulkey was trying unload the jammed round at the time of the shooting.
The person went on to tell police that Clements stood up to grab an Xbox controller when a round misfired from the rifle and hit him.
Attorney Mario Massillamany isn’t connected to the case, but he said, even if prosecutors can’t prove the shooting was intentional, Mulkey could still face lesser charges.
“To be able to charge that person with murder, they have to be able to show intent,” said Massillamany.
If the prosecutor’s office doesn’t feel comfortable charging him with murder because they’re having a hard time proving intent, they could charge him with reckless homicide of manslaughter.”
The man who lives in the home where the killing took place referred us to their lawyer who confirms the suspect will claim the shooting was an accident, although it doesn’t appear the suspect made any attempt to call 911 after the shooting.
Police reported that, after they took Mulkey into custody for questioning, he declined to comment on the incident and requested an attorney.
Court records show at the time of the killing Mulkey did have an active warrant for his arrest after being charged with a separate domestic battery case last month.
The suspect is being held without bond on a preliminary charge of murder.
Formal charges ultimately will be up to the Marion County Prosecutors Office to decide.
Speedway police say the investigation is ongoing and asked anyone else who witnessed the shooting to contact their department.
Detective Lauren Roemke is working the case for the Speedway Police Department. Detective Roemke can be contacted at (317) 246-4300.
The death marks the first homicide in Speedway in 2023.