GREENWOOD, Ind. — Court documents reveal that 18-year-old Tyrique Sevin Radford El admitted to police investigators that he shot Whiteland Community High School sophomore Temario Stokes Jr. “more times than necessary” at a bus stop near Winterwood Drive and Providence Drive early Thursday morning.
“(I) just blanked for a second and I just shot him,” Radford El reportedly told detectives.
The shooting occurred around 6:50 a.m. on Aug. 25 and when police arrived they found 16-year-old Temario Stokes Jr. lying on the ground. Court documents reveal officers observed Stokes had been shot multiple times in the head along with discovering gunshot wounds on the teenager’s arm, leg and lower back.
Stokes was pronounced dead at approximately 7:10 a.m. after life-saving measures were attempted by Greenwood Fire Department personnel.
According to court documents, Radford El told police he had “reacted too fast” in his decision to shoot Stokes. Radford El told investigators that a few weeks prior to the bus stop shooting he and another individual had an altercation with Stokes. Radford El claimed Stokes pulled a gun on him during that past encounter. When Radford El saw stokes on Aug. 25 at the bus stop, he told investigators he thought Stokes may have been armed with a gun once again and was afraid Stokes had caught him “slipping”.
“Nine times out of 10, he probably did just reach for his pocket. But I don’t know,” Radford El reportedly confessed to police.
“But you can’t call that self-defense though, because he didn’t pull it.”
Radford El confessed to investigators that he hadn’t seen Stokes pull out a gun at the bus stop. He said he only saw Stokes look at him, smack his lips, and place a hand near his pocket.
Radford El told investigators he thought Stokes was “going to do the same thing that he did last time or maybe like it was worse.”
But Stokes didn’t have a weapon. Radford El did, and he confessed to using it. Confessed to shooting Stokes repeatedly. He knew it was wrong, he told investigators, but he did it anyway.
Stokes was in a mentoring program called New B.O.Y. Creator Kareem Hines said Stokes was in it for a little less than a year.
“Shock, I’m hurt. I felt pain. We have lost young men in our New B.O.Y. program before but I don’t think we’d ever lost anyone who had been so close to us.”
Hines said he last saw Stokes a few weeks ago. He said many of the boys looked up to him.
“The young men listened to him, they listened to him,” Hines said. “He was on a path of making some changes to his life.”
After the shooting, Radford El fled the scene and hid in a cornfield, where he reportedly ditched his 9mm handgun, according to the documents. When he later emerged, he was wet and dirty. Police quickly spotted and apprehended him.
“Shouldn’t never left the corn,” he said.
When asked if he knew if Stokes had a gun, Hines said he could not speak to that, but did say Stokes never brought anything like that to New B.O.Y.
“There were some things he wanted to change in his life, so that specific situation I’m not sure, but I can tell you he never brought negativity, never brought negative vibes around our program,” Hines said.
He said Stokes won multiple awards for character development and most improved during his time with New B.O.Y.
“Every opportunity he had when he won an award he always wanted the mic,” Stokes said. “He always wanted to take that opportunity to talk to people and talk about the changes he was making in his life.”
Before his confession, Radford El had told police a story about how he’d been wet from working out when he had been found and detained. He told investigators he wanted a lawyer. When detectives left the room at one point, Radford El reportedly could be heard laughing to himself and said something about “murder.”
Eventually, Radford El looked directly at a camera and stated, “I want to talk.” Despite being advised to speak to investigators with a lawyer present, Radford El signed a waiver and spoke to investigators anyway, court documents claim.
After his confession, Radford El is said to have expressed a wish to seek therapy.
Radford El was officially charged with one count of murder on Wednesday. He is being held in the Johnson County Jail without bond. If found guilty, Radford El faces between 45 to 65 years in prison. His first court date has not been set.
Eric Graves contributed to this report.