KOKOMO, Ind. — Two teens have been detained, and police are attempting to locate a third after a shooting at the Kokomo Beach water park left a 16-year-old boy injured.
On June 15, the Kokomo Police Department said a fight started in the water park before spilling out into the parking lot, where the boy was shot.
According to KPD, a 17-year-old in possession of a handgun was located by Howard County deputies as he was leaving the area following the shooting.
The boy was detained and transported to the Kinney Youth Center for dangerous possession of a firearm, a level 5 felony, and possession of a stolen handgun, a level 6 felony.
“It was our belief he was involved at that time, and then further investigation led us to detain him for an additional charge of attempted murder,” said Kokomo Police Captain Scott Purtee.
Purtee said investigators have been able to identify two additional boys alleged to be involved — ages 14 and 16 — by using video surveillance from the pool area.
According to Purtee, investigators worked with juvenile officials at the detention center, who were able to assist in identifying the remaining two boys. He said this is what got the ball rolling and allowed police to be able to move forward and take the boys into custody.
As a result, a 14-year-old boy has been detained for aiding, inducing or causing attempted murder. Kokomo police say the Howard County Circuit Court has issued a pick-up order for the 16-year-old, also for aiding, inducing or causing attempted murder.
“Our investigators are still following up on leads trying to locate him,” said Purtee.
As the investigation continues, police said they will continue to have officers present at the entrance of the Kokomo Beach water park, where they are checking bags at the gate. Police told FOX59 last week the purpose of this was to check for weapons.
“Illegal drugs, alcohol are not allowed in the facility,” added Purtee.
He said officers will be present every day, checking bags until at least July 31. They will re-evaluate after that and determine next steps.
“We’ve also been working with our prosecutor’s office and our parks board to come up with other remedies to make the parks and the pools safer,” said Purtee.
Kokomo resident Sherri Laughner said she was planning to come to the pool on June 16, but the day before was when the shooting happened.
“I’m glad they’re out here. This is our first trip back. I just pray that we all stay safe,” she said.
Laughner said she was saddened to hear of what happened at Kokomo Beach.
“There’s more ways to find kindness in the world, and I don’t understand it.”
The Ten Point Coalition in Kokomo said it is working to proactively and aggressively reach out in the community and deal with the gun violence.
“Wherever there’s a need at in the city of Kokomo, we’re not limited by any form of geographical boundaries,” said Pastor Lonnie Anderson Jr. He serves as the secretary for Ten Point Coalition Kokomo.
Anderson Jr. said he is noticing an “unfortunate trend” in Kokomo when it comes to people involved in these crimes.
“The victims and those that are perpetrating this violence are getting younger and younger, and that breaks our hearts as a Ten Point Coalition,” he shared.
He said he believes it will take more than just Ten Point but also churches, communities, civic organizations, educational organizations, and more, coming together in a collaborative effort to address the problem of gun violence as it relates to youths.
“To get what really needs to be done in the city, no one agency can do it by themselves,” said Anderson Jr. “I do believe that we do have the resources here. I think it’s a matter of those resources collaborating together.”
Likewise, both Anderson Jr. and Purtee said there needs to be a discussion on how to handle conflict without the use of a deadly weapon.
“One of the things that we’re gonna have to do is we’re really gonna have conversations, collaborations with families,” said Anderson Jr.
“We just really would wish that the parents would just teach the children that there are other ways to deal with conflict versus getting a handgun and doing something like this,” said Purtee. “They have to be taught that there are other ways to resolve conflict.”
Purtee said last week’s incident was serious enough, but it could have been much worse.
“We would not have want anyone getting shot, obviously, but if there was a stray bullet that hit someone inside the pool, that just makes the situation that much worse,” he said.
Purtee said in March, KPD asked parents to pay attention to what their kids are doing and who they are socializing with, and just last week, reiterated that message again.
Police said this case remains an active investigation. They’re asking anyone with additional information to contact Captain Mike Banush at 765-456-7278 or the KPD hotline at 765-456-7017.
You can also submit a tip anonymously, and you may qualify for a cash reward by calling Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8277 (TIPS).
The boy injured in the shooting was taken to a local hospital and then flown to Indianapolis for further treatment. Police say he remains in the hospital and at last check was listed as stable.