INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A man accused of taking part in a deadly shooting at a bar on Indy’s south side is behind bars on preliminary charges of murder and battery.
A bachelor party at Jake’s Pub on Southport road ended in gunfire Friday night and claimed the life of 41-year-old Christopher Smith. When police arrived at the scene, they found Smith inside the pub and the accused gunman wounded in the parking lot.
“We’re all devastated. It’s hard to pick up the pieces and move on without him,” said Smith’s sister-in-law Shanon Singer-Mann.
Court documents are now providing new information about what led up to the deadly incident.
Police say 32-year-old Derek Oechsle attacked one of Smith’s friends by hitting him in the head with a gun. More than a dozen witnesses inside the pub at the time told police Smith tried to be a peacemaker and break up the fight.
“He was definitely trying to protect his friends and family, but he was trying to protect that guy just as much. He didn’t want nobody to get hurt,” said Singer-Mann.
Witnesses say only after Smith got shot did one of his friends return fire, wounding the suspect.
According to the affidavit, everyone at the bar claims the suspect, “Seemed agitated… kept shaking his head… would stare at other people… and seemed upset but they didn’t know why.”
The motive for the murder remains a mystery.
“We’re never going to understand why. I’ll never understand why he did that or why it had to happen the night it happened,” said Singer-Mann.
Still, Shanon knows Chris, who served as an assistant pastor at a small church, would’ve preached accountability and forgiveness against his killer.
“We won’t ever be able to heal if we don’t forgive him. We don’t want to be mad at him,” said Singer-Mann. “That’s not what Chris would want. Chris would want us to forgive him.”
Funeral services for Smith are set for Friday, the same day the suspect due to make his initial court appearance.