INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – For more than 11 years, Anne Tiggs has grieved for her slain son, a college-bound Speedway High School graduate who was trapped inside a car as a gunman fired away.
When an Indianapolis man died the same way this past September, and detectives announced charges against his fugitive killer, Anne Tiggs took notice from faraway in Jacksonville, Florida, where she moved to get over her son’s death.
A broken mother’s phone call has rekindled interest in the murder of Justin Miller, the subject of the latest Indy Unsolved.
“It was absolutely the same way that he killed my son,” said Tiggs.
Miller and his brother Joshua were driving with a friend along Georgetown Road approaching 56th Street when they were stopped in traffic on August 5, 2006.
Joshua said a man ran up to the car and shouted, “Remember my name. You ripped off my girlfriend.”
The gunman opened fire, fatally wounding Justin and injuring his brother and another man.
“This person they did know and they recognized his face and it was Jeffery Buckley,” said Tiggs, quoting her surviving son. “He said he remembered. He told me, ‘Mom, I remember when I fell from the car when he was shooting me and I could see his face. I see him very clearly and it was definitely him. It was him.’”
IMPD Captain Chris Boomershine was a homicide supervisor for the Marion County Sheriff’s Department in the summer of 2006.
“It was certainly a targeted shooting by the suspect on the vehicle driven by and occupied by the three individuals,” said Boomershine. “The conflict was over one of the roommates stealing some items from the suspect’s girlfriend.”
Detectives investigated Buckley’s alibi which they could not disprove, seized his guns which didn’t match the murder weapon and couldn’t arrest him on the victim’s identification alone.
Justin Miller’s murder remains unsolved.
“He was a good person, he was a kind person, he didn’t deserve what happened to him,” said Miller’s mother.
Interest in the unsolved killing waned until September 30 when Kirk Shurill was shot to death inside his car after a repast for a murdered friend named Keith Williams.
Williams’ cousin was Jeff Buckley who witnesses told police was angry that Shurill was spinning his tires in the parking outside the dinner in a shout out to his dead friend.
IMPD homicide detectives said those same witnesses claimed they saw Buckley walk up to Shurill’s car and fire 17 shots to kill the driver in a murder that echoed the slaying of Justin Miller eleven years earlier.
“There do appear to be elements that are similar in the modus operandi that was carried out in 2006,” said Boomershine. “This is the best opportunity I think that anybody will have to solve the 2006 case just based on the MO.”
Jeff Buckley was questioned but never charged in the Justin Miller murder.
There’s currently an open warrant in his name for the Shurill killing.
“No, it’s never a surprise when the name comes up again,” said Boomershine. “All you have to do is look at the individual’s criminal histories as either a victim or a suspect in a homicide. In most instances their behavior, their lifestyle, is a good predictor of their future.”
If you know anything about the murder of Justin Miller, or the whereabouts of Jeff Buckley, call Crime Ctoppers at (317) 262-TIPS and possibly earn a $1,000 reward.