INDIANAPOLIS – The investigation into a deadly shooting outside a former Indianapolis high school led to the arrest of five men on drug and weapons charges.
During a youth basketball game Tuesday night inside the Thomas Carr Howe gym, a shooting outside the former school building claimed the life of 19-year-old Walker Whatley III.
Officers on scene quickly detained the suspected shooter, but that person was released without charges pending further investigation.
Since that time, court records claim Kentavion Lowe has made multiple threats on social media leading police to believe he was intent on revenge against the gunman involved in Whatley III’s death.
“Our officers and detectives identified an individual who was making threats to commit violence,” said IMPD Lt. Shane Foley.
This weekend, a vigil was being held at the former school for Whatley. As a precaution, police put that vigil under surveillance to make sure no violence occurred.
IMPD claims Lowe was seen on a mobile surveillance system leaving the vigil on Saturday.
Lowe and four other men, all either 18 or 19 years old, were then pulled over in a nearby neighborhood. Police said the van being driven by the suspects at night had no working headlights or taillights. Inside the van, officers allegedly found drugs and four illegally-possessed handguns.
Police believe the bust may have prevented more violence.
“The idea is to prevent violence. Often we’re responding to violence, but we’ll never know the amount of violence that was prevented by officers and detectives in making these arrests and getting these guns off the street,” said Foley.
Two of the guns had machine gun conversion devices attached, police said. The devices convert semiautomatic firearms into automatic ones. The guns also had their serial numbers obliterated. A third gun had an extended magazine.
“Machine gun conversion devices make these guns more dangerous for the community and our officers, because they can fire a lot more rounds in a short period of time,” said Foley. “We don’t know the amount of violence that was prevented by our officers and detectives this weekend.”
IMPD arrested Lowe on preliminary charges of possession of a machine gun and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number. Christian Richardson and Jeremiah Kimbrough, both 18, were arrested on the same charges.
Dwayne Johnson, 19, was taken into custody on a preliminary charge of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. A fifth person was arrested on a possession of marijuana charge.
IMPD’s Downtown Violent Crimes Task Force (VCTF), K9, Interdiction, North District Violence Reduction Team (VRT), Southeast District VCTF, and East District officers assisted in the investigation.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office will review the case for a final charging decision.
No arrests have been made for the homicide. Anyone with information on that case can still contact either IMPD’s homicide office or Crimes Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.
Although Indianapolis Public Schools still owns the former school building, they pointed out last week that the youth event was a non-IPS sponsored event.
Matt Adams contributed to this story.