INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Metropolitan police are investigating a homicide after a person was found shot to death inside a parked car on Indy’s east side.
Officers were first called to the 1400 block of N. Gladstone Ave around 8:20 a.m. Friday on report of a vehicle theft in progress and later found a male victim unresponsive inside a parked vehicle.
He was pronounced dead on the scene. The Marion County Coroner’s Office identified him as 17-year-old Daejhan Skipper.
The investigation is still ongoing, but it appears Skipper was killed while attempting to steal the parked Kia on Gladstone Avenue.
The car’s owner, Aaniece Key, said she was walking out of her home to go to work and was shocked to see a man sitting in the driver’s seat of her car.
“I saw the back of his neck and he was slumped over,” said Key. “So I thought he was robbing me so I ran in my house and called police.”
When officers arrived IMPD said they found Skipper with a screwdriver still in his hand, shot to death.
So far, it’s not clear who is responsible.
“I’m just overwhelmed right now. I just cannot believe it,” Key said. “I’ve never seen a dead body before. I thought he was asleep, but then police took a while to get here so I was like he can’t be asleep. Either he’s on drugs or he’s dead.”
Police confirmed Key’s story, but because the car’s owner cooperated fully and didn’t shoot the man, IMPD said detectives are not sure who did.
Other neighbors claim they heard gunshots several hours earlier.
“This is an unfortunate incident where a life is lost,” IMPD Ofc. Samone Burris said. “This is tragic for the vehicle owner.”
IMPD said thefts involving Kia’s have skyrocketed this year compared to last. Through the end of September, the department has recorded 962 Kia thefts this year compared to 133 last year.
Attempted thefts, classified as vandalism, have also gone up dramatically from 120 in 2022 to 649 in 2023.
Those numbers are almost single-handedly driving an overall increase in car thefts, according to IMPD.
“Vehicle thefts would be down if it were not for the thefts of Kias and Hyundais,” said Ofc. Burris.
While she doesn’t know the man killed in her Kia or who pulled the trigger, Key said she just wishes people would stop stealing cars because it can put lives in danger.
“It’s just unfortunate because you can’t control what other people do,” she said. “I go to work and pay my bills. I’m not out scamming on cars. All in all, everybody just needs to get a job.”
So far police did not have any suspect information to release and no arrests have been made.
Anyone with information about this incident is being asked to call IMPD Homicide Det. Chris Craighill at (317) 327-3475 or e-mail Chris.Craighill@indy.gov. To remain anonymous, call CrimeStoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.