INDIANAPOLIS, Ind (Sep. 7, 2015)– A series of holiday weekend shootings on the west side has police officers looking at a possible connection.
One of the crimes was caught on camera and another involved a 14-year-old boy who was shot while walking home from the grocery store.
“Something definitely hit me,” said Brian Zaragoza.
That something was a bullet and it is still lodged in Zaragoza’s back. Doctors decided to leave it in his back in fear of causing more damage.
“I didn’t actually think it was a bullet until I saw the x-rays,” said Zaragoza.
Friday, Zaragoza walked out of his neighborhood grocery store on the 4200 block of High School Road with his mom. They were on their way home when they heard what sounded like fireworks.
“Out of nowhere I heard a whistling, kind of like a bottle rocket then I felt something hit my side and I just lurched forward,” said Zaragoza.
Witnesses say the shots came from a moving car. The suspected shooters drove past Brian and yelled an anti-Hispanic slur.
“The fact that they yelled out a racial term and made it about that–obviously the intent there, in my opinion, is clear because they are specifying why they are shooting at this kid,” said Carlos May, executive committee of the Indiana Latino Expo.
Minutes earlier, just a few blocks from the spot Zaragoza was shot, a Mexican taco stand was also the scene of a shooting. An SUV with an adult and two small children inside was shot at. Nobody was injured.
The car description that Zaragoza gave police is similar to the one spotted at the taco stand shooting. Also, .40 caliber shell casings were collected at both scenes.
“If they were just targeting random Mexican places, then I guess I was just wrong place wrong time,” said Zaragoza.
Saturday, a Hispanic-owned smoke shop located on the west side was also targeted. Video shows the suspect violently punching the clerk, grabbing money from the cash register and then firing at the employee as she ran for her. The clerk was shot once in the leg.
“A lot of times these victims are targeted specifically because they just assume they won’t go to the police. Maybe they assume that because of the language issue or the immigration status issue,” said May.
Police say the gunman drove away in a green four-door Pontiac Bonneville.
“This is obviously a violent individual who we want to get off the streets,” said IMPD officer Rafael Diaz.
Police have not confirmed if any of these crimes are connected or if the shooters were in fact targeting Hispanics.