INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Prosecutors filed charges Wednesday morning in connection with a quadruple homicide earlier this month on the northeast side of Indianapolis.
Police arrested four people, including three 19-year-olds and one 17-year-old. Cameron Banks, 19, and Rodreice Anderson, 19, Lasean Watkins, 19, and Desmond Banks, 17, are charged with multiple counts of murder and robbery resulting in serious bodily injury.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said the shooting happened inside an apartment in the 4100 block of Shady Oak Drive just after 10:30 p.m. on February 5.
Police were called to the scene on a report of a back patio door being shot up and two people being seen running from the apartment. When officers arrived on scene, they found the glass door shattered and three men and one woman suffering from gunshot wounds. All four died of their injuries. The victims were identified as Kimari Hunt, 21, Braxton Ford, 21, Marcel Wills, 20, and Jalen Roberts, 19.
Homicide detectives were called to the scene. They discovered the apartment was ransacked with drawers pulled out and falling from dressers. They also found an empty black safe with the key still in it inside one of the closets.
According to court documents, police later discovered three of the suspects were shooting dice at the apartment before the shooting. Using the apartment complex’s surveillance system, they saw the suspects run from the apartment and flee in a gold car. They were able to read the car’s temporary tag using video footage and discovered it belonged to Anderson.
IMPD tracked Anderson down in his car on February 13.
According to court docs, Anderson confessed to police he picked up the other three suspects on the night of the murder, and they talked about committing a robbery.
Anderson said his role was to be the getaway driver, and he stayed in his car while the other three went inside. After a short while, he said he heard a lot of gunshots, and saw the other three suspects running toward his car carrying duffle bags with “a lot” of stolen items.
IMPD tracked down Cameron Banks’ car on February 14, and he was taken into custody. Police also tracked down Desmond Banks at school on the same day and took him into custody. They were both arrested after being questioned about the crimes.
Jalen Roberts cousin, James Young, said news of the arrests brought some relief after an excruciating two weeks.
“The Lord always said don’t take nobody else’s life, and you took four innocent lives,” Young said. ”I hope y’all give us some type of reason or let us know why did y’all do this.”
Lead detective on the case, IMPD Detective David Miller, said cooperation by the community and a key witness were crucial in connecting the various pieces of the puzzle together.
“It takes a lot for certain individuals to come forward and to talk,” Miller said during a Wednesday news conference. “Without going into who they are, they know who they are. They stood up for what was right in their community and they put their trust in their police department and that’s the way these homicides get solved.”
While the initial motivation for the incident appears to be robbery, it’s still not clear exactly what triggered the deadly violence.
Marion County Prosecutor, Ryan Mears said more than 50 shots were fired inside the apartment that night.
“You don’t typically see that many bullet wounds, and you don’t typically see that many shots fired in a particular case,” Mears said. “Certainly there is more to this story in terms of what exactly took place in that apartment complex.”
Mears also expressed his condolences to everyone involved in the situation.
“I just feel so bad for everyone involved,” he said. “You have four young people who lost their lives, and you have four additional young people who are looking at literally hundreds of years in prison.”
Young said Jalen Roberts’ funeral was scheduled for Thursday. That’s the same day the four suspects are scheduled to appear in Marion County court for the first time.
“We have to bury my cousin tomorrow,” Young said. “That’s going to be the painful part, burying him tomorrow.”
City-County Council Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee Chairman Leroy Robinson has released the following statement regarding the arrests:
IMPD continues to urge anyone with information about this incident to call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS (8477). All tips through Crime Stoppers are considered anonymous and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 if your information leads to a felony arrest.