Two homicides in less than 72 hours prompt new concerns about crime at Indianapolis hotel

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 15, 2015) - Two homicides in less than three days have brought fresh concerns about criminal activity at a hotel on the east side of Indianapolis.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Homicide Detectives were investigating leads in the Sunday night fatal shooting of a 30-year-old man inside the Rodeway Inn.  Police responded to a 911 call from a guest at the hotel, located in the 3500 block of North Shadeland Avenue, around 11:30 Sunday night.  Officers arrived to find the victim struggling to breathe with two gunshot wounds to the chest.  The man died from his injuries after being rushed to a hospital.

Before that, IMPD responded to another fatal shooting at the hotel early Friday morning.  Joenathan Rice, 46, was found outside the hotel with a gunshot wound to the head.  Investigators believe the shooting resulted from an argument that started inside one of the rooms at the Rodeway Inn.

“In a little less than 72-hours, to have two homicides at one location, is very concerning to us, based on the establishment that is over there, the hotel,” said IMPD Lt. Richard Riddle.

Officers on the east side of Indianapolis are certainly familiar with the hotel.

Records show there have been 197 public safety runs to the Rodeway Inn since Jan. 1.  About 165 of those were police runs for various disturbances and problems.  Thirty two of the runs were emergency medical calls or calls to the Indianapolis Fire Department.

Riddle said having that many calls to the same location has become a drain on public safety resources.

“Taking a number of officers out of service for that long every day obviously negates their ability to go elsewhere in the city,” Riddle said.

A woman who only identified herself as “Melissa” told FOX59 she lives with her daughter in the hotel.  She said the criminal activity seems to be nonstop inside and outside the Rodeway Inn.

“Lot of people doing different kinds of drugs, a lot of people in and out, slamming doors,” she said.  “A lot of fights.  A lot of screaming in the hallways.”

Melissa said the she’s had enough of the constant crime inside and outside the Rodeway Inn.  She and her daughter plan to move out as soon as they’re able.

“It’s scary, it’s bad,” she said.  “I try to stay locked up in the room.  The only time I come out is to go to work or if I’m going to the store or something like that.  But at night, I definitely stay in, I don’t come out unless I have to go to work.”

Cathy Clark, who owns Re-Power!, Inc. next door to the hotel, says the crime has hurt her power equipment business because some customers don’t want to come to her location so close to the hotel.

“The police and fire are always there,” Clark said.  “There’s always something going on.  No one ever knows what’s going on.  But you can usually see when the coroner’s there, you know exactly what’s going on.”

Clark says the crime has started to make her employees feel unsafe.

“We’ve seen drug deals happen,” she said.  “I mean, they’ve even happened in our parking lot.  We’ve seen prostitution happen.  That’s why we put our chains up at the end of our days, so that no one can drive through our parking lot.”

The Rodeway Inn’s hotel permit is currently in good standing with the City of Indianapolis.  However, Riddle says two homicides in less than 72 hours could prompt a possible reevaluation by the city’s legal department.

“I think that that location will be reviewed by the city prosecutor to determine the feasibility of their permit going forward,” Riddle said.

Management at the Rodeway Inn declined to comment on the recent homicides and frequent emergency calls to the hotel.

 

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