INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has arrested a man in connection to a parking lot brawl that left one person dead.

Police booked 28-year-old Mario Pena on Thursday, per a press release. An affidavit for probable cause indicates Pena allegedly shot and killed Luis Medina-Hernandez on Oct. 16, 2022.

A press release from the date of the shooting reports that IMPD officers were dispatched to the 6300 block of W. 34th St. at approximately 3 a.m. on a report of a person shot. The person, later identified to be Medina-Hernandez, was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

Police documents reported that a fight involving 10 people or more broke out near a west side bar. A number of suspects interviewed during IMPD detectives’ investigation said many people were congregated in the parking lot because they were placing orders at a nearby taco truck.

Multiple witnesses told police the victim was sitting in his car eating tacos with his wife.

That victim then got out and ran to help some family members involved in a fight in the parking lot when he was shot in the back at point-blank range by a complete stranger.

The reason Pena got involved in the fight is also unclear at this time. Multiple witnesses said he was in the bar before he allegedly killed Medina-Hernandez. As the fight was unfolding, Pena reportedly waded into the scrum and shot Medina-Hernandez from less than one foot away, per IMPD detectives.

Police reviewed footage captured by security cameras a local business had set up in the parking lot. IMPD officials reported that they saw Pena shoot Medina-Hernandez once in the back and before he fled the scene.

According to court records, one witness shared a video from a phone of the suspect driving away. 

On Oct. 18, 2022, police received an email from an anonymous tipster that described the vehicle Pena boarded after he fled the scene on foot. The tipster also provided the car’s license plate number, according to police.

IMPD detectives then searched the vehicle and the plate number and eventually found that Pena had been involved in a traffic stop on June 18, 2022. After a review of bodycam footage from the stop, detectives determined that Pena matched witness descriptions and photos of the shooter that killed Medina-Hernandez.

In February 2023, another witness helped positively identify the suspect.

That community assistance allowed police to issue a warrant for Pena in March.

“Our detectives didn’t let up on this case and continued to follow up on leads, but those leads came from those in the community that we always need when we have a case like this,” said IMPD Officer William Young.

That assistance is critical because police records show a majority of homicides from 2022, nearly 140 cases, remain unsolved with families still awaiting justice.

“In any case, we have to have witness cooperation to identify these suspects,” said Young. “The big picture is to continue to provide detectives with information and hopefully we can continue to wrap cases up like this with an arrest.”

In the case on 34th Street, witnesses said the victim didn’t start the deadly dispute and only got involved to try and protect his family and stop the fight.

In a press release sent on Friday, IMPD announced that authorities in Texas arrested Pena on an unrelated charge. He was extradited back to Marion County and officially booked for murder on Thursday.

The suspect made his initial court hearing Friday morning. He is being held without bond pending trial.