INDIANAPOLIS — A teenager is dead and a second victim remains in the hospital following a shooting at Castleton Square Mall.
Police are still investigating what led to the deadly shooting in the mall parking lot, but the father of the victim who survived claims it started with a mistake over two identical cars.
Around 8 p.m. Tuesday night, tragedy struck when 16-year-old Michael Mason Jr. and his friend walked out of the mall.
“They were leaving the mall and they walked up to a white Chevy Impala that is the same make and model my son drives,” said Eddie Smith Sr.
Eddie Smith Sr. is a pastor at Tuxedo Park Baptist Church on Indy’s near east side. He claims an honest mistake led to deadly gunfire.
“The teen reached for the back door and my son said wait this isn’t our car and all of sudden someone inside starts shooting out of the window,” said Smith.
Police said the shooter stayed on scene and cooperated. Detectives are consulting with prosecutors to determine if charges should be filed.
The 16-year-old victim later died from his injuries, while Eddie’s son was shot four times in the leg and survived.
“He tried to murder my son and all of this over a car, grabbing a door handle by mistake. This is senseless,” said Smith.
“We have to do a lot more to save our youth,” said Reverend Malachi Walker.
That death marks the second juvenile homicide victim in the first four days of the year.
While overall homicides went down in 2022 compared to the year before, the number of juvenile homicide victims climbed to 19. That is the highest total in recent years.
That’s why Reverend Walker, who hosts an annual youth empowerment camp called Young Men Inc., said parents need to teach kids to make better decisions.
“Making good choices will save your life and that’s what it’s all about,” said Walker.
“We’re not going to police our way out of violence,” said Smith.
Pastor Smith agrees preventing violence starts at home, but said in this case he believes a simple misunderstanding did not need to turn into tragedy.
“The cost of a life was worth a 15 year old Chevy Impala. Put that into perspective,” said Smith.
Pastor Smith believes the shooter should be charged with murder and attempted murder, but so far police said no arrests have been made.
Anyone with information about this incident should call Detective Gary Smith at the IMPD Homicide Office at (317) 327-3475 or e-mail the detective at Gary.Smith@indy.gov.