INDIANAPOLIS — For the second time this week, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating a deadly shooting at a troubled far east side apartment complex.
The violence, IMPD reports, has taken place at the Amber Woods apartments near 38th Street and Mitthoefer Road.
Around 8 p.m. Tuesday, IMPD said officers found Robert Hornbuckle Jr. shot in the driver’s seat of a van on John Marshall Drive.
The 46-year-old victim died after being taken to the hospital.
Just over two days earlier, witnesses told IMPD that 32-year-old Stephen Hale was killed Sunday morning following an argument in the same parking lot.
The two deaths took place no more than 70 yards apart from each other.
“East district is aware of the incidents and are providing extra patrols to the neighborhood,” said IMPD Lt. Shane Foley.
IMPD Lt. Foley said even though the two crimes may not be connected, the trend is concerning and several detectives could be seen canvassing the entire complex on Wednesday, knocking on every door.
Police also praised the complex’s management for their assistance.
“We’re working with residents management to identify ways to make the area safer, to respond to crimes. We’re thankful for the cooperation we’ve received from residents and management,” said Foley.
Unfortunately, the issues at Amber Woods didn’t just begin this week.
Dating back to April 2021, when 35-year-old Lamar Pittman was shot to death in the complex, IMPD has investigated 6 homicides in the Amber Woods over the last 3 years. That does not include a deadly accidental shooting earlier this year of a 6-year-old boy in the complex.
“Amber Woods is symptomatic of a larger problem on the far east side,” said reverend James Jackson with Fervent Prayer Church.
Reverend James Jackson, whose church sits less than a mile away from Amber Woods, insists police can’t solve the problem on their own.
“One of the biggest issues we’re facing, and there are a lot, is the absence of a community policing model,” said Jackson.
For their part apartment managers sent a written statement Wednesday that read:
“We regret to learn about another tragic incident that has occurred at Amber Woods.
Our thoughts remain with the victims’ families during this time and we urge anyone who has information regarding the events to report it to local law enforcement.
In light of these recent incidents, we want to again assure the community that our team is actively engaged with local law enforcement and we remain committed to transparency and cooperation with their ongoing investigation.
As we continue to await further information, we are working closely with authorities to explore ways to enhance the well-being of our community and residents.
We are already in the process of increasing the visible presence of security personnel throughout the community and increasing our community crime watch meeting presence to allow residents the chance to voice any concerns as they arise.
We’ll be providing regular updates to our residents on the progress and details of these initiatives in the days and weeks ahead. In the meantime, we invite our community members to come together, support one another, and stand united against violence.”Management of Amber Woods
IMPD said the killing Sunday morning may involve a possible claim of self-defense. The shooter in that case was interviewed and released after consultation with the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.
The investigation remains ongoing and detectives will present their findings to the MCPO for further review.
The homicide Tuesday night remains unsolved and anyone with information about that incident should call Detective Matthew Melkey at the IMPD Homicide Office at (317) 327-3475 or e-mail the detective at Matthew.Melkey@indy.gov.