INDIANAPOLIS – A man arrested in connection with a deadly shooting could’ve been behind bars on a weapons charge. Instead, the suspect paid a $150 cash bond and allegedly killed a 20-year-old man just days later.
Indianapolis Metropolitan police arrested Jermerrell Hubbard this week on preliminary charges of murder and robbery in the death of 20-year-old Brian Ward Jr.
Ward was shot Monday afternoon at Carlton Apartments in the 2500 block of Plaza Drive on Indy’s north side. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Hubbard had been arrested at the same apartment complex last Thursday and faced a count for unlawfully carrying a handgun. Hubbard was released from jail the very next day on what is known as a BARS bond. That is a bond that is immediately set upon arrest based on the local bond schedule.
On Saturday Hubbard then posted a $150 cash bond in the case.
Police insist immediate cooperation by witnesses on the scene helped identify Hubbard as the shooter in Monday’s homicide.
“They were able to give us very descriptive information,” said IMPD officer Samone Burris. “They were able to give us a suspect description as well as a vehicle description.”
That community assistance led to Hubbard’s arrest hours later. Police then searched Hubbard’s apartment on Martin Luther Lane and allegedly found evidence linking him to the homicide.
IMPD praised the community’s role in solving the case.
“Investigations that involve our community, like homicides, we can only get those solved with the assistance of our community,” said Burris.
Despite the quick arrest, some community leaders feel the case illustrates both the successes and failures of Marion County’s justice system. Some believe the murder itself could have easily been avoided.
“This is just madness. It’s madness,” said Rev. Charles Harrison. “This person should not be dead.”
Just five days before the deadly shooting, court records show the accused killer was arrested on a weapons charge in front of the same apartment building.
According to an affidavit filed in the gun case, less than a week before the killing Hubbard was arrested after police found him sitting in an SUV at the same complex with a ski mask and two unlawfully possessed handguns.
Hubbard was released from jail on that gun charge the very next day, even though the weapons arrest violated the terms of Hubbard’s probation on a drug conviction. Hubbard accepted a plea agreement for drug possession on Jan. 20.
Given that recent history, court records show prosecutors asked for a seven-day hold, which was denied by a newly appointed magistrate because the suspect had already been released from custody.
“The judge denied the motion citing it was moot because the defendant had already been released on bond prior to the case filing,” a spokesman at the prosecutor’s office explained.
Had the seven-day hold been approved, Hubbard wouldn’t have been at the apartment complex on Monday.
“We have to do a better job holding people accountable,” Rev. Harrison said. “The police can’t arrest them and the courts put them right back on the street. That’s just unacceptable. It’s frustrating because we feel like the court system is not working with the community in our efforts to drive down the violence.”
IMPD’s North District Violent Crime Task Force (VCTF) and Indiana Crime Guns Task Force (ICGTF) tracked Hubbard and his vehicle. He was taken into custody with help from IMPD’s SWAT team.
It’s now up to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office to make a final charging decision in the shooting that killed Ward.
Hubbard is now being held without bond pending the filing of formal murder charges.