‘Incomprehensible’: Indianapolis funeral home management calls for peace after 5 injured in parking lot shooting

Crime in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS — A family-owned Indianapolis funeral home said it is standing with the community in demanding a stop to the violence after five people — including a 4-year-old girl — were shot Saturday in the parking lot outside.

According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the shooting happened around 4:30 p.m. in the 1100 block of West 30th Street in the parking lot of Sprowl Funeral & Cremation Care.

“It was extremely shocking and disappointing that it happened on our property because we take pride in our funeral home and the services that we provide to the families,” said Lori Hobbs, director of operations for Sprowl Funeral & Cremation Care.

Hobbs said a service had ended, and people attending made their way outside. They estimate about 25 to 30 people were gathered before heading to a funeral repast when the shooting took place in the parking lot.

According to IMPD, preliminary information gathered by detectives suggested a man was dropped off in the parking lot and began engaging in a conversation with someone sitting in a vehicle in the parking lot. An altercation allegedly began, and the man started shooting in the parking lot, injuring several people.

Near the intersection of W. 30th St. and Clifton Street, IMPD said a mother was located by officers attempting to drive her injured 4-year-old daughter to the hospital. On Monday, a family member said the girl is expected to survive her injuries.

Also injured were a 16-year-old girl, who was listed as stable, and three men, also listed as stable as of Saturday, according to IMPD.

IMPD said the suspect in the shooting left prior to officers’ arrival. No description has been released by authorities, who said the incident is not believed to be random. No arrests have also been announced.

Hobbs said Sprowl Funeral & Cremation care is family-oriented and built from the ground up. They view anyone who comes in for services as a part of their own family.

“Just to have something that this traumatic happen on our property at the conclusion of a funeral service of a person that was not a homicide victim or connected to any violent crime was just incomprehensible,” Hobbs shared.

Although she was not at work at the time of the shooting, Hobbs said she saw video from the funeral home’s cameras and shared how difficult it was to watch what happened.

“I’ve reviewed the surveillance, and it’s absolutely sickening. My stomach hasn’t been right since that day,” said Hobbs.

Funeral director Charles Rox said he was there and can’t erase the sounds he heard Saturday afternoon.

“I can still hear the gunshots. I was here during the time,” Rox said.

He shared that he knows how difficult it has been for himself and other staff to process what happened, but he especially feels for the children who were outside when the shooting happened.

“I can’t imagine what’s going through their minds. A child’s mind is fragile anyway, and now you’ve got to endure this. It’s just heartbreaking. Just heartbreaking,” said Rox.

Hobbs added, “We just expect families to come here and grieve the loss of their loved ones in peace and not to fear that something like this is ever gonna happen.”

She said Sprowl Funeral & Cremation will take every step to ensure the safety of guests coming to the funeral home for services of a loved one and offered their thoughts and prayers to everyone impacted by Saturday’s events.

Hobbs also added that she hopes to see some type of solution to the violence in the city.

“It’s out of control. It’s absolutely out of control,” she said. “I don’t know what the solution is other than we have got to get back to loving one another and communicating.”

On Monday night, Hobbs said a representative of Sprowl Funeral & Cremation Care would be at a peace march, where clergy members were expected to join Mayor Hogsett and city-county councilors, along with other advocates in a peace march to where this shooting happened.

“She is representing Sprowl as a whole just to show a face and let the community know that we care, number one, and that we stand for peace,” said Hobbs.

IMPD public information officer Genae Cook said the community needs to stand up and hold those accountable that are carrying out any sort of violence.

“Actions have a reaction. Our detectives are gonna make sure that they are held accountable for those actions because this is a child,” Cook said, “a child in our community, and again we have to put forward that somebody needs to be held responsible for their actions because they didn’t think about their actions and how it would have an affect on not just one person but an entire community.”

She said the community needs to remember that any act of violence sets an example for the younger generation.

“Everything that you do sets an example. We are all mentors, and I will keep saying this over and over, but we are all mentors for those who are younger than us and look up to us,” said Cook. “Whether you believe it or not, whether you see it or not, they see you.”

“When they see you having conflict resolution and watching the way in which you solve, they’re going to think that’s the way they solve it,” Cook explained.

She said this should encourage people to reflect and find ways to handle things without resorting to violence.

In addition, Cook encouraged anyone who might see a situation they’re not sure how to handle or have concerns over becoming involved to reach out to the city’s violence interrupters. The violence interrupters are a group of trained individuals who help intervene in conflicts in an effort to prevent violence on the front end.

“If they don’t have an answer for you, I’m sure they can point you in the right direction of somebody that does,” said Cook. “There are so many different groups that are out there in the city of Indianapolis that can help.”

City-County Council President Vop Osili and Councilor John Barth issued a joint statement to FOX59 on Monday regarding Saturday’s shooting.

“There simply aren’t words strong enough to convey our anger and anguish over the shooting outside an Indianapolis funeral home Saturday. Our hearts are with the families of the 4-year-old and the 16-year-old girls who were wounded, along with the rest of those physically injured and emotionally traumatized by this awful event. That someone would violate the solemnity of a funeral this way is a stark reminder of how ever-present the threat of gun violence is in all of our lives. We join with those calling on all of us to both pray and act for peace, as we recognize this challenge will require all of us coming together to solve.”

City-County Council President Vop Osili and Councillor John Barth

The funeral home also shared a statement on its social media following the shooting.

On Saturday, Mayor Hogsett responded to the act of violence that left five injured.

“This afternoon our community witnessed yet another violent incident, this time with multiple victims including a young child. Tonight our thoughts are with all those impacted, including those injured in the shooting, their families, and a neighborhood scarred by a cowardly act. Far too many residents have borne the consequences of the combination of firearms and failed conflict resolution and I join a frustrated community in calling for an end to this cycle of violence.

IMPD and the City of Indianapolis will continue to try every solution, incorporate every best practice we can. But we cannot do it alone. It will take neighbors sharing information, supporting those who are hurting, intervening when someone is headed down a dangerous path.

Mayor Joe Hogsett

IMPD asks anyone with information to contact Detective Justin Gray at the IMPD Aggravated Assault Office by dialing 317-327-3475 or via email at Justin.Gray@indy.gov.

You can also contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS with information about this incident.

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