INDIANAPOLIS – An employee was shot at a Dollar Tree store on Tuesday night on Indianapolis’ northeast side, according to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
Shortly after 8 p.m., IMPD responded to the store at 7373 North Shadeland Avenue for a reported business robbery. When they arrived, they said they found an employee suffering from a gunshot wound.
The man was transported to the hospital in critical condition, where his condition has since been upgraded to stable.
“It’s around the holidays,” said William Young, public information officer for IMPD. “Nobody should have to go through this. People are just trying to work, and to be disturbed by a criminal act such as this nature, it’s disturbing.”
According to the victim’s mother, his name is Isaac Gill. She said he has only been working at the store for a few months. She describes him as a “hardworking” and “kind” man.
She told FOX59 that hospital staff informed her he has undergone multiple surgeries for his injuries. As of early Wednesday afternoon, she had not been able to speak with him just yet.
The shooting happened in the same plaza where an IMPD resource center was recently established. It opened in July with the goal of increasing police presence and answering to the community’s concerns over a rise in crime in the area. Kris Parmelee is one of the co-founders of North Shadeland Alliance, which lead the effort.
“We’re shocked, and it’s really disheartening because that’s a really important store for the community,” Parmelee said in reaction to Tuesday’s shooting. “We want this to be a place where people come to shop and eat and conduct business in the community.
“They’re not gonna do that if they don’t feel safe, so with the increase in crime, one of the efforts that we did was put a IMPD substation here.”
Parmelee said the resource center is a starting point but not a permanent solution to the crime in the community.
“The new substation is not going to be an immediate end-all for crime, so we view this effort as a long commitment to the turnaround. We don’t want people to be scared to go there. Again, we’re committed to the turnaround. We hope in 2021 to work with the property owner to make some improvements to the property.
“We’ve got to stay vigilant, and we’ve got to stay focused on our message, aware of our community, supporting our police officers, supporting our area businesses and investing in our own backyard.”
FOX59 spoke with multiple businesses in the same plaza. A nearby restaurant owner said after a difficult year with the pandemic, he feels the area crime is creating even more of a challenge for already struggling businesses.
Another employee of a nearby business told FOX59 she hopes to see an increased presence in IMPD officers and is concerned for the safety of patrons and other employees in the strip mall.
Katrina Kenny, owner of Kenny’s Barbershop, said she was in her store with a client when the shooting happened Tuesday night.
“It’s kind of disappointing to know that we have these preventative measures in place, but it didn’t seem to be much help because stuff is still happening,” she said. “It’s super unsettling just to be that close.
“Everybody in this shopping center — if you work here — we all patronize Dollar Tree. We know the people that work there, we’re familiar with them,” she said. “We’ve all become like a little community, so to know that I was that close, and they could have easily just walked in here, it’s scary.”
Kenny said neighbors need to come together, and if you see something, say something before it’s too late.
“I can’t say that I’m shocked or anything like that because it’s happened more than once but disappointed like I said, with them reassuring us by putting in this substation that they would better patrol this area and incidents like this wouldn’t continue to happen,” she said.
In January 2020, a Subway employee was shot and killed during a robbery in the same plaza. There have not been any arrests announced in that case.
“This is a nice area, this is a nice community, it’s a family-oriented community, so for it to happen again is extremely disappointing.”
Linda Elliott used to live in the area for 10 years. As she came back to visit family Wednesday, she said it is concerning to see the crime in an area she considers friendly and safe.
“It’s sad to see this happening, not just here but across the city. Citizens have to take, unfortunately, the actions into their own hands to kind of take care of some of this.”
According to IMPD, no customers were injured in the incident Tuesday night, and the investigation into the shooting remains ongoing.
IMPD said officers arrived on scene within one minute of receiving the 9-1-1 call, but the suspect had already fled on foot.
Anyone with information is asked to call IMPD or Crime Stoppers by dialing 317-262-TIPS (8477).