INDIANAPOLIS — David Brinker, 37, is being held on $100,000 bond inside the adult detention center pending an initial hearing on a reckless homicide charge for the early morning March 6 shooting death of his wife.
Dorothy Brinker, 36, died of a single gunshot to the chest in the middle of the 6000 block of Oak Avenue after arguing with her husband, who admitted to police that he pulled the trigger.
The couple argued after the mother of their 6-month-old daughter went out with friends the day before and returned at 9 p.m. to an empty house.
Soon, David Brinker brought their child home and left again, according to Dorothy’s friends, only to return and continue a dispute that was previously fueled by angry text messages.
”He was calling her names. Like he was calling her a dumbass. He was calling her a whore,” said Lacie Dunegan. “He was being very aggressive towards her. She didn’t want to go home because she was upset that he was really angry.”
According to a probable cause affidavit, Brinker told Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department detectives his wife jumped into his truck and attempted to drive away from their home in 6000 block of Dewey Avenue at 2 a.m.
“He said he wanted to try to stop her because he did not want her to drink and drive,” reads the PC. “He grabbed his gun because he was considering shooting out the tires in order to stop Dorothy from driving away.”
Brinker told police he then hung on to the side of the truck as it traveled onto Arlington Avenue and then on to Oak Avenue, as captured by a neighbor’s surveillance video.
“Mr. Brinker said that once the truck stopped, Dorothy rolled down the window,” continues the PC, “and he reached inside to try to open the door from the inside. He stated that he ‘had the f….gun still in his f….hand like a dumbass and it popped (gun fired). I didn’t know that I had my finger on the trigger, but I guess I did but we were wrestling around, and she was fighting with me, and it went off and I don’t know where it hit her, but I know she looked right at me, and I watched the life leave my f….wife, but I shouldn’t have had my gun.’”
Police later discovered a spent shell casing on the windshield wiper of the truck and a 9 mm handgun and bloody holster inside the cab.
Brinker’s sweatshirt and hands were also covered in blood.
The friends who spent the last night of her life with Dorothy dispute Brinker’s version of his wife’s killing.
”You only pull a gun with the intention of harming somebody,” said Dunegan.
Dorothy’s body was found on the pavement, her legs beneath the truck.
“And then he said he was doing it with the intention of shooting out the tires and said that’s what he was trying to do when she got shot initially,” said Jillian Elza, “and that’s not the case because he was never near the tires.”
If convicted of reckless homicide, Brinker would face no more than six years in prison, “and it’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Elza.
Despite the seemingly minimal penalty, one courthouse veteran said the low level felony might be the most serious count prosecutors can charge.
”The prosecutor’s office looks to see if somebody was acting in a reckless manner,” said former Marion County Prosecutor’s General Counsel Mario Massillamany. “Were they waving their gun? Were they firing it in the air? Were they holding it in a way that they shouldn’t have and recklessly discharged a bullet and somebody died?
”They don’t have either words or actions from the defendant that would lead them to show a jury or a judge that they knowingly or intentionally tried to commit the murder.”
Massillamany said that while $100,000 bond may seem steep for such gun homicide charge, it might be the prosecutor’s best tactic to hold Brinker in jail pending an amended count.
”They brought the reckless homicide charge because I believe in their mind this is an easy one to, A: prove, and B: have him held on.
”While the detectives on the case and law enforcement officers are compiling more evidence they might, as we call it, upcharge and file that murder case later down the road,” he said. ”The state is also informing the judge that they are looking at potentially bringing other charges against him or that they believe that this fact scenario might require more serious bond, and this individual is more of a danger to the community.”
Brinker faces his initial hearing at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
He also has a March 22 court date to be advised of the status of the state’s citation of the Red Flag Law that was used to seize seven guns from his home as he was preliminarily determined to be a danger to himself or others based on his statements to police, “I just lost everything,” and, “I don’t wanna live anymore.”