INDIANAPOLIS — Three people, including two children, were injured when someone opened fire on a 4th of July cookout on Indianapolis’ east side, according to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
Police were called to the area of East 38th Street and North Arlington Avenue just before 7 p.m. Monday. According to IMPD, officers arrived on scene within moments of the shooting and found two children who had been shot.
Police said the children, an 8-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy, were initially taken to area trauma centers in critical condition but have since been upgraded to “stable” condition.
They were inside an inflatable bounce house when they were hit by gunfire, police said.
“As with any situation, it’s always unfortunate when we have any person shot in our city, but it cuts deeper when it’s a child. You have two innocent children that are just here trying to enjoy 4th of July weekend, playing in a bounce house, when careless individuals come up and open fire into a crowd with absolutely no regard for human life whatsoever,” said IMPD Captain Mike Leepper.
Less than 10 minutes later, police were called to Community Hospital East, where a man who had been shot arrived. He was also listed in stable condition, according to IMPD. Police said he was at the 38th and Arlington shooting and drove himself to the hospital.
“It’s still very early on in the investigation, but we have reason to believe this was an unprovoked attack,” said Leepper. “That the suspects arrived on scene and opened fire on a crowd that was having a 4th of July celebration, they were having a cookout with a bounce house.”
Police said any suspects involved in the shooting fled the scene before officers arrived. They’re working to sort through the details of what happened, identify any potential suspects and speak with possible witnesses who remained at the scene, but they also need anyone else with information to speak up.
“It’s important that the community says this is not acceptable behavior and step up if they have information. That’s how crimes get solved because somebody knows something,” said Leepper.
Police also reminded that these types of incidents cannot be tolerated. As authorities processed the scene and began their investigation Monday night, more than a dozen evidence markers were in the street not far from where the shooting happened.
“Bullets have consequences. When they leave guns, they don’t stop until they hit something. In this situation, two children were hit and an adult. Our detectives and officers will process this to the best of our ability and not leave any stone unturned,” said Leepper.
The two children who were shot in this incident are among nearly 50 juveniles injured in nonfatal shootings in Indianapolis this year alone, data shows. Police said they understand the frustration and hurt the community feels because many of their officers have children of their own.
“As you look behind me and you see these officers and detectives, a large majority of them, they have young children at home. So that cuts deep,” said Leepper. “Them, the fire department, the medics that responded to the scene, to have to treat a small child, and they’re not treating a small child for falling out of a bounce house and scraping their knee, they’re treating them because they were both shot by individuals who just pulled up and opened fire into a crowd of people.”
“It just displays a lack of compassion and value of human life. That’s why our officers are out here every day because people like that should not be roaming the streets of Indianapolis,” he added.
Other children and adults were also there when the shooting happened and remained on scene as officers arrived, IMPD said.
Police have not released information on the suspects or how many people are believed to have fired shots. IMPD said its investigation into the shooting is ongoing.
Anyone with information is being asked to call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana, where you will remain anonymous, at 317-262-TIPS (8477).