IMPD investigates the deaths of 4 people murdered over 5 days within a few hundred yards of each other


INDIANAPOLIS — Four people are dead following a series of shootings in the same neighborhood on Indy’s far east side.

The violence all took place over the span of just five days near 38th and Mitthoeffer.

Starting Friday night at a Phillips 66 gas station, two men were shot to death.  On Monday at the nearby Spanish Oaks apartments, another man was murdered.  On Wednesday someone killed a 21-year -old woman at the Amber Woods apartments.

All were separated by just a few hundred yards.

“When we see those concentrations of violence in a small geographic area, we have to look at those incidents individually and what is the root cause and what can the police affect,” said IMPD east district commander Richard Riddle.

Family provided photo of Da’Shay Thomas.

Following the shooting Wednesday, police worked to control a large disturbance involving an emotional crowd of people, but commander Riddle insists combating violence is more complicated than simply increasing patrols because every case involves a different motive.

“What my team is doing on east district is looking at each incident for what it is,” said Riddle.

For example, police believe the death of Da’Shay Thomas on Wednesday may be domestic-related.

Investigators claim two maintenance workers got into an argument inside a vacant unit at Spanish Oaks over the use of a homophobic slur and arrested 57-year-old Alejandro Leon-Barroso for that killing.

Police booking photo of Alejandro Leon-Barroso.

Those cases are much different than the group of young men involved in a dispute that led to gunfire inside the Phillips 66.

“There’s no regard for human life,” said Sharon Robinson-Varner.

Sharon’s son was wounded in the gas station shooting and begged people this week to put the guns down and resolve conflicts peacefully. Police want the same thing.

“Just stop and let people enjoy life,” said Robinson-Varner.

“We’re out here trying to make a difference. Our officers have concentrated their patrols, but unfortunately, we can’t be everywhere at once,” said Riddle.

In addition to the four homicides over the last week, police were also called to investigate another homicide at the Amber Woods apartments in early April after a 35-year-old man was shot to death.

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