Court docs: Accused shooter outside Ben Davis football game fired ‘warning shots’ at victim in self-defense


INDIANAPOLIS — New court documents reveal what allegedly lead to gunfire outside of Ben Davis’ football stadium during the homecoming game.

David Tillman, 18, was arrested on preliminary charges of battery by means of a deadly weapon, criminal recklessness and carrying a handgun without a license.

According to arrest records, Ben Davis High School administrators were trying to get a crowd out of the football stadium due to “a large disturbance.” The MSD Wayne Township School Police responded and reported seeing a young man, allegedly identified as Tillman, fire a semi-automatic handgun multiple times in the direction of the crowd.

David Tillman (Photo Provided By IMPD)

Police said a group of three young men, including Tillman, ran from police.

Eventually, police arrested Tillman. In an interview with police following the arrest, the court records said Tillman told them he shot the victim on accident when he was “firing warning shots at him in self-defense.”

The 16-year-old victim was shot in the arm and transported to the hospital and expected to be okay.

“It’s always concerning whenever we have shots fired at a high school football game that results in someone receiving a gunshot wound, especially a teenager,” said William Young, IMPD public information officer.

According to the court records, one person involved is a former Ben Davis student and the others involved are not current students.

Violence in Indy impacts everyone, regardless of age.

“I think the young people all feel like somebody’s out to get them, that they’re not safe,” said Shardae Hoskins, lead youth resource coordinator with the city’s Office of Public Health & Safety. “Our young people don’t feel safe. Period.”

Hoskins spends much of her time with students and said this idea of “on-sight” is a pressing issue among teens.

“On-sight is just the next time I see you, it’s going to be issues, right,” Hoskins explained.

Unfortunately, Hoskins said some kids feel they need guns and we need to address why.

“They really feel like they have to,” Hoskins explained. “One, because other people have them and how can you protect yourself against something if you don’t have one also. But then (they’re) always feeling like there’s somebody out to get them.”

Hoskins urges all adults to be a trusted mentors for kids and keep an eye on their social media accounts.

“To them, it seems nosy, but for you, it’s figuring out who are their friends. So if there’s issues going forward you know, ‘Well, I know he hangs out with these three names, maybe I can try to contact them,'” Hoskins said. “Or maybe you find out that they are having a problem.”

The school released this email to families following the shooting outside of Ben Davis’ football stadium:

“It is with deep sadness and concern that we share this message with you.  Our increased safety and security efforts at the Ben Davis Football Stadium gates continue to improve the safety of all who enter the stadium to cheer on the Giants and enjoy a great night of Ben Davis Football.  Unfortunately, during the fourth quarter of the Homecoming football game against Carmel last evening, several teenagers engaged in an altercation outside of the football stadium.  During the altercation, a handgun was fired and an individual was struck in the arm.  That individual was transported by ambulance, in stable condition, to the hospital.  The M.S.D. of Wayne Township Police Officers quickly apprehended the shooter, detained the individual for questioning, and subsequently arrested the shooter.

Several of the individuals involved in the altercation have been identified.  At this time, only one of the individuals involved has been identified as a former Wayne Township student.  None of the individuals identified are current Wayne Township students.  

Several Ben Davis administrators were in the area when the incident occurred and immediately implemented our safety plan.  M.S.D of Wayne Township Administrators from several of our schools were on duty and coordinated efforts with the school police and IMPD.  The coaches, athletes, and spectators were ushered to areas of safety while the situation was processed and the scene secured. 

BDHS and MSD Wayne Township are appreciative of the organized and safe response to this unfortunate situation. The official school-sponsored Ben Davis homecoming activities scheduled for Saturday will continue as planned.  Additional safety measures are being implemented so that the students can have an enjoyable, safe homecoming experience. 

This morning, Mayor Joe Hogsett contacted Superintendent Dr. Jeff Butts to discuss last night’s event and offer the resources of the City of Indianapolis to the students and staff of the M.S.D. of Wayne Township.  Mayor Hogsett and Dr. Butts shared their concern for the adverse childhood experiences our youth are experiencing across the city.     

Students and staff will have access to additional supports at Ben Davis High School on Monday for those who may need help processing this event.  

If you or someone you know has any information about what occurred outside of the football stadium last night, please contact the IMPD at 317.327.3811.”

Ben Davis High School

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