Fire hampers investigation into fatal shooting of Indianapolis mother

Indianapolis, Ind – Indianapolis Metropolitan Police detectives are searching for leads in the shooting death of an Indianapolis mother early Monday morning.

The Marion County Coroners office confirmed 45-year-old Veronica Hayes died from multiple gunshots wounds.  IMPD found Haye’s body inside her home in the 1500 block of Goodlet Avenue after receiving a 911 call from someone in the house at roughly 1:20 a.m.  When police arrived, they say two 17-year-olds and two 18-year-olds were also in the house.  Police say it’s possible one of the teens called 911 after the shooting.

Family members say the two 17-year-olds are Veronica Hayes’ twin son and daughter.  The 18-year-olds are family friends.

Shortly into the homicide investigation, police began smelling smoke inside the house.  They cleared the structure as Wayne Township Firefighters arrived to put out a fire that had started in the partially finished attic of the home.

“The officers and everyone else inside the residence then have to come out to make sure that they’re safe.” said IMPD Officer Aaron Hamer.

Wayne Township fire officials say the fire appeared to be accidental and it was likely started by a blanket that came in contact with a lamp.

“Obviously you want to make sure that all the evidence that may link to the possible killer is preserved,” Hamer said.  “So you do everything in your power to preserve that evidence.”

A few doors down from the house, neighbor Jim Doty says he heard gunshots at precisely 12:30 a.m., which is 50 minutes before police received the 911 call.

“I heard six rapid shots,” Doty said.  “Sounded like semi automatic.  It sounded like it was right here between the houses.”

Doty said the shots were enough to make him run outside.

“I came out immediately,” he said.  “And I didn’t see anything but one car moving down there and I have no idea what kind of car it was or anything because it was so dark.”

Family members of Veronica Hayes say she was a mother of six children.  Hayes lost a teenage son in a hit-and-run in 2002, according to one family member who spoke off camera.  The same person said the 17-year-old twins are being cared for by other family members in the wake of their mother’s death.

“In this case, if individuals were in the home, then trying to talk to them to get as much information as you can,” Hamer said.  “What they could have seen or heard or just know what was going on.”

Family members did not suggest any particular person who would want to harm Hayes when we asked them.

Police and court records show Veronica Hayes was arrested in March, 2016 in connection with a narcotics investigation at the same house on Goodlet Avenue.  A charge of Maintaining a Common Nuisance against Hayes was dismissed in March, 2017, according to online court records.

Police say detectives will explore that history along with any other avenue that could provide leads in their search for Hayes’ killer.