INDIANAPOLIS — The former Ovation Audio store at 4270 W. 38th St. near Lafayette Road was the site of an early Sunday morning “birthday party” and shooting that left five people wounded and a man dead.
Investigators think a fight led to shots being fired both inside and outside the building on Indy’s northwest side.
IMPD and Indiana Homeland Security said that the site should have never been open in the first place.
“In March of last year, Lieutenant Bill Carter executed a search warrant on the location for serving alcohol without a license, so, essentially, bootlegging was taking place at that location,” said IMPD Captain Chris Boomershine. “At the event the other night, alcohol was present at the venue. There was also hookah smoking and the location did not have a valid entertainment permit from the State Fire Marshals’ office.”
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security confirmed that fire marshals investigators were denied access to the building during a scheduled walk through with the owner on March 28. They also said the business did not have a current amusement and entertainment permit and that several code violations were noted on the site’s exterior.
Despite the State order to keep the building closed, the property was the location of a Saturday night party advertised by “Team One Group”, which has also scheduled several other events in the weeks to come.
“At most locations, the person who is running the event is leasing the space. Rarely do we see someone that actually owns the space at these events,” said Boomershine. “We are asking anyone who has an event center to check social media for the type of event that they claim is taking place. We’re asking them to also have an employee on site to inspect what is going on there and we’re finding in many instances that they’re giving them the keys to the business much like parents hand the keys to the car on the weekend to the kids and that’s it.”
Farther north on Lafayette Road, at the Global Village Welcome Center, Executive Director of the International Marketplace Coalition Mary Clark said her event center is never rented out to promoters.
“The property owners do have to be responsible,” she said. “We need to vet those promoters, and maybe we shouldn’t even work with promoters, period, because here’s what happens with those promoters: they come into a business, they make all the money they want to make. If havoc breaks out, they’re long gone. And who’s suffering the consequences? The community and the small business owner.”
Talisha Gray, owner of Gray’s Event Center next door to the former Ovation Audio store, said she has fielded phone calls from customers who mistakenly believed it was her business where the shooting occurred.
Captain Boomershine said it is not just the business community that suffers when violence breaks out at an after-hours, unregulated club.
“People who are attending bars, nightclubs and event halls need to do their own research. They need to understand that if it’s not a properly licensed or managed business, their safety may very well depend upon their own research,” he said. “When it comes to security, we’re finding incidents of no security and there should have been, or we’re finding incidents of, there is security, but they may not be properly licensed which is an A misdemeanor violation if you’re operating a security company in Indiana without a license, and in many cases, we’re finding that they acted in an unprofessional manner in dealing with patrons.”
Boomershine said sometimes unlicensed and untrained security personnel exacerbate incidents that result in gun violence.
“We are seeing a steady increase of these type of entities,” he said. “For some reason, at this point in time, we are seeing a lot of people who either want to open a bar or a club or operate at an event hall and in many instances they are cutting corners they are putting the public at risk that attends these type of events.”
Boomershine said the City Prosecutor may file to close the Team One Event Center based on past and present violations.
Fox59 unsuccessfully reached out to both the promoter and the property owner seeking comment.