INDIANAPOLIS — An accused killer is in the hospital for what police are calling a murder and attempted suicide on the south side of Indianapolis.

Court records claim the killing was domestic-related. The victim and suspect had dated for years, although friends and neighbors say the pair had broken up just a few weeks before the deadly shooting.

Around noon on Tuesday, before police were called to the Laurelwood apartment complex in the 1400 block of Salisbury Lane, a neighbor claims 27-year-old Keyshawn Pettis showed up to his ex-girlfriend’s apartment building and waited for her to return home.

“I recognized him and knew him so I walked outside and said what’s up,” said neighbor Richard Johnson. “He sat out here and talked to me, then he got a phone call and went out back.”

Keyshawn Pettis in July 2022

A few minutes after that conversation, Johnson said he heard gunshots and called 911 after Pettis started banging on his front door while bleeding profusely from under his chin.

“He just was barely able to talk,” he said. “Everything [that] came out of his mouth was slurred.”

Police believe Pettis shot his ex-girlfriend, 29-year-old Nichole Kirksey, in the head and wrist inside her apartment before shooting himself and staggering outside to Johnson’s porch.

Pettis is expected to survive his injuries.

Johnson said the suspect didn’t seem violent before the shooting.

“He just seemed like he was here to see her,” he said. “He didn’t seem panicked or itchy or anything like that you know.”

According to the affidavit filed in the murder, two other witnesses were inside the apartment at the time of the killing. The witnesses, docs show, told police they overheard the suspect ask the victim, “Do you want to have anything to do with me?”

After the victim said no, three shots were fired. 

The victim died on the scene, leaving behind several young kids.

“We liked Nichole. She was a good person,” Johnson said. “She always talked to us and her kids played with my kids. It’s a sad situation to see that happen.”

Court records show Pettis had previously been charged with domestic battery involving the same victim in 2016, but he pleaded guilty to a lesser battery charge in part because the victim didn’t want to press charges at that time.

The suspect remains in the hospital and has not yet been taken to jail for the murder. He is being held without bond pending the filing of formal charges.