WESTFIELD, Ind. – An Indy teen has been charged as an adult after he reportedly shot at a coach, his wife and two kids who were leaving a basketball game at the Pacers Athletic Center.
The 17-year-old suspect has been identified as Elijah Earl of Indianapolis.
Previous reports detailed the numerous witnesses that police spoke with on the scene after getting a “shots fired” call around 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 5.
One man told police that he heard what sounded like gunshots or fireworks while he was in the parking lot. Another man and a juvenile witness described the suspect shooting a gun from the parking lot.
Police said they immediately noticed multiple damaged vehicles and shell casings on the ground. Witnesses also alerted that the suspect was shooting at a truck that had left.
The probable cause also detailed information about four cars that were damaged by bullets, two of which had damages over $750 and had to be towed from the severity.
Other witnesses confirmed that the suspect, later identified as Earl, was from one of the teams who played and sat at the scorer’s table during the game.
Before the shooting, Earl was reportedly heard saying “We can get about that.” The vehicle Earl shot at sped away during the shooting, witnesses stated.
After speaking to the coach [victim] of the shooting, he told police there was tension between his team and their opponents during the game. He said after the game ended and players shook hands, the tension continued.
The victim said he was waiting for the other team to leave before taking his family home but after realizing they weren’t leaving, walked his family to the car.
“All of a sudden three people just come out,” the coach said as he described the moments before the shooting.
He saw Earl walking towards him with his hands on his waist and then the coach hurried to his vehicle with his family. The man stated all he could hear was “doot doot doot doot,” imitating gunshots.
The coach added that the shooter was the person sitting next to his wife at the score table during the game.
Police said the man also confirmed that there was a verbal altercation between him and Earl while his family was in the car.
Investigators were able to use video surveillance footage from the PAC and photos from Earl’s social media to match witnesses and the coach’s characterization of the shooting.
In a later interview with Earl and his father, police said the two claimed that family members were “getting into it” with the son of the other team’s coach.
When police asked Earl about the situation, he stated when he went outside he saw the opposing coach walking to his car with his wife and son. The coach turned to him and reportedly said, “Don’t come over here on no bullsh*t, I’ll spray that b**ch down.”
Earl added after that, he and his brothers began moving back in between vehicles in an attempt to avoid further interaction but couldn’t provide a reason the coach made the comment to them.
Earl said as the coach left, multiple shots went off and Earl and his brothers ran inside to tell their dad.
Earl stated he didn’t see who was shooting and didn’t see the coach or anyone else “brandish a gun.”
The probable cause stated Earl and his dad claimed to not own any guns or keep them around the house.
Investigators pointed out that Earl was seen with a rifle and 9mm in separate photos on his Facebook profile. They also asked Earl to explain why witnesses described him as the shooter.
Earl did not have an explanation and maintained that he did not have or shoot a gun.
Police explained to Earl that his description of events matched other witness statements that alleged him as the shooter and that his explanation of shots didn’t match where casings and bullets were found.
Earl was charged with:
- three counts of attempted murder, Level 1 felony
- three counts of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, Level 6 felony
- three counts of pointing a firearm at another, Level 6 felony
- dangerous possession of a firearm by a child, Class A misdemeanor
- unlawful carrying of a handgun, Class A misdemeanor
- two counts of criminal mischief with damage, Class A misdemeanor
- two counts of criminal mischief, Class B misdemeanor
Greg Garrison, the prosecutor in Hamilton County, said that the decision to charge Earl as an adult is him sending a message. Garrison said he will not tolerate that kind of behavior in Hamilton County.
“The young person, 17 years old, cranking off rounds. Guns don’t kill anybody but people sure do,” Garrison said. “He’s an adult in the eyes of the law for what he did… They are deadly weapons and I take it very seriously”
Officials asked residents to take care of their kids. However, the prosecutor’s office stressed that they still believe Grand Park is a safe place and they are doing everything they can to make sure it continues to be a safe place.
“Anytime you get a large group of people together you were always going to be faced with issues,” Chief Deputy Prosecutor Josh Kocher said, “and we will continue to grow and respond to the challenges that we face in these places”
An initial hearing was held on Nov. 13 at 1:15 p.m.