Domestic violence, COVID-19 isolation concerns raised after apparent murder-suicides in Fishers

Crime
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FISHERS, Ind. -- Fishers police continue to investigate after two people are found dead inside an apartment following a violent standoff.

The upstairs windows have been shattered and the grass torn up by a tactical truck, after Fishers police came under fire by an armed suspect on Monday.

Fishers police were called around 2:30 p.m. Monday afternoon to check the welfare of an individual in the 13900 block of Ashlake Lane, but the situation quickly escalated.

“I definitely was hiding in my closet. I grabbed my computer and was taking safety in the closet,” said neighbor Vanessa Stepanek.

Several neighbors like Vanessa were told to stay inside their apartments during the four-hour standoff.

“We were told not to leave, but we were in the direct line of fire, so it would have been more dangerous to try and evacuate,” said Stepanek.

The door to the suspects apartment has been boarded up after police set off an explosive device to try and gain entry to the building. That's when neighbors like Vanessa really got scared.

“When that happened I literally jumped up and started balling my eyes out. It was scary not knowing what was going on,” said Stepanek.

Police wouldn’t confirm some details of the investigation, but the apparent murder-suicide would mark the second such case in Fishers in less than a week.

In fact, some experts fear social isolation from coronavirus could be increasing the danger of domestic violence.

“Domestic violence is about power and control and isolation, so victims are experiencing this at higher rates now,” said Kelly McBride with Domestic Violence Network.

Last Wednesday Fishers police were called to a different apartment just two miles south where investigators believe 20-year-old Zachary Hileman shot and killed his 73-year-old grandma Debra before killing himself.

“Are people staying healthy? Are people making sure they're mentally okay? It's hard not to think about the timing with coronavirus and what's going on inside people’s homes and inside their walls,” said Stepanek.

The spokesperson for the Domestic Violence Network reminds everyone that resources are still available to help secure protective orders or make safety plans to escape violent relationships.

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