NEW CASTLE, Ind. – A juvenile suspect is now charged as an adult in connection with a man’s shooting death earlier this year in Henry County.
The suspect, identified as 14-year-old Quinton Marqtez Vann, is charged with murder, according to court documents filed earlier this month. He was 13 years old when the shooting took place.
Typically, FOX59/CBS4 does not name juvenile suspects unless they’re charged as an adult.
“The Court has not found from the evidence that it would be in the best interest of the juvenile and the safety and welfare of the community for him to remain within the juvenile justice system,” according to the waiver to adult court.
The shooting took place around 8:35 p.m. on May 2 near South 21st Street and A Avenue. Police found a man lying in the road and initially believed he’d been injured in a hit-and-run crash.
However, investigators didn’t find any debris from a crash, according to court documents, and neighbors told police they heard gunshots nearby. Closer examination showed the man, identified as 47-year-old Ernest Thornsberry Jr., had been shot in the head. He later died at a hospital.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Thornsberry had been walking in the area when a group of juveniles, including Vann, confronted him. They hurled insults at him and threw rocks in his direction.
One of the juveniles told investigators they were “messing with” Thornsberry. The juvenile also said the group often “messed” with other people, although this was the first time one of them had a gun in their possession.
Thornsberry told the juveniles to leave him alone. However, they continued to bother him, prompting him to pull out a pocket knife and approach the group. At that point, Vann pulled the gun from his waistband, fired a shot in the air and then opened fire in the direction of Thornsberry, according to court documents.
Neighbors reported hearing three or four gunshots. One witness took cover inside his home upon hearing the gunfire and then went outside when he felt it was safe. He found Thornsberry lying in the road in a “pool of blood.”
Multiple witnesses reported seeing juveniles walking into the area before the shooting and running away after gunshots rang out.
When police interviewed Vann, he initially denied any knowledge of the shooting and told investigators he didn’t know why they wanted to talk to him. When informed of inconsistencies with his story, the then-13-year-old confessed, saying, “I did it,” and admitting he’d been in possession of the gun, according to court documents.
A friend had taken the gun from his stepfather’s home and given it to the suspect, police said. Vann told police where he’d ditched the firearm; police recovered it from a storage shed in the 1600 block of H Avenue. It was inside a black plastic bag and wrapped in a white t-shirt.
One of the teen’s friends told police Vann had made recent comments “about wanting to shoot someone,” according to court documents.
Vann is being held at a juvenile facility in Vincennes. A judge scheduled his trial for Nov. 27.