INDIANAPOLIS – It took about a month for police to make an arrest in connection with a road rage shooting that left a man with intestinal injuries.
Around 6:20 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10, Indianapolis Metropolitan police officers were dispatched to 56th Street and High School Road after a man called 911 to report he’d been shot in his car. Officers later located the man and his Volkswagen Jetta in the 5500 block of Lafayette Road.
The car had multiple “bullet defects” on the driver’s and passenger’s sides. Police located a fired bullet inside the vehicle along with bloody clothing. The man also had a gun and ammunition in his glovebox. The car was equipped with a dash camera and a rear camera.
Police were initially unable to interview the man after the shooting because he needed surgery. He talked with investigators the next day. By his account, he was leaving work and on 56th Street approaching I-465 when he realized he needed to change lanes and cut off another vehicle, according to court documents.
The other driver pulled next to him on his passenger side and pointed a “black polymer framed handgun with a silver barrel” in his direction, according to court documents, and fired at him. The driver said he chased after the other vehicle to get its information on his dash camera. They drove west and made a U-turn; the driver followed through to 56th and High School Road.
He finally pulled over on East 56th Street near Lafayette Road after realizing “how badly he was injured.” The other vehicle continued east on 56th Street.
On Feb. 15, IMPD reviewed dashcam footage, which included video of the suspect’s license plate. Police were able to trace it to 39-year-old Bernard Oakley Jr. Oakley doesn’t have a driver’s license, police said.
The video showed Oakley’s car attempting to pull into the left lane in front of the other driver, who honked and could be heard shouting at Oakley. At least one gunshot was heard on camera at that point; the driver followed Oakley’s vehicle; both vehicles turned around near an apartment complex, at which point more gunshots were audible. The driver then called 911 and stopped to wait for police and EMS.
During a Feb. 24 interview, the driver told police he suffered intestinal injuries and needed a wheelchair for his recovery.
Police surveilled Oakley for a few days in March before initiating a traffic stop on the morning of March 8. He had a Glock handgun on his hip. Inside the vehicle, police found a pair of cellphones, baggies of marijuana, two boxes partially filled with ammunition and a full box of ammo. They also found a gun cleaning kit, gun oil and an extended magazine, according to court documents.
Oakley told police the gun was new, and he’d been in possession of it for about a week. When asked if he’d fired it, he said he’d taken it to the firing range one day and also discharged it during a highway dispute. In Oakley’s telling, a car refused to let him over; the driver gave him the middle finger and swore at him.
Oakley said he shot the gun “into the air” during the incident and drove away, with the other car chasing him. He turned around, saw the car sitting on the opposite side of a grassy median and then fired a few more shots because he thought the other driver “was waiting to attack him.”
Police said Oakley, when asked to revisit his account, “made a pointing motion using his right hand as a gun and had the gun level with the ground as though it was pointed at the other car,” according to court documents.
Oakley was booked on several preliminary charges, including battery by means of a deadly weapon, operating a motor vehicle without a license, aggravated battery and criminal recklessness.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office will review the case for a final charging decision. Oakley has a hearing scheduled for March 13, according to jail records.