INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis police are investigating who shot three people at an east side gas station on Washington St.
Two men and one woman were taken to the hospital after being shot at the Citgo at 4415 Washington St. just after 11 p.m. Sunday.
Initially, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department wasn’t getting anywhere with witnesses.
”As detectives were investigating, they can see several witnesses on the scene not helping, not giving any information to the police,” said Cpt. Kimberly Young, who responded to the scene Sunday night.
Come Monday afternoon, IMPD was seeing more help.
”I know at least one person has come forward and is providing information to detectives,” IMPD Lt. Shane Foley said.
FOX59 spoke to the manager of the Citgo, Lakhwant Singh, on the phone Monday. Singh said he believes the shooting was caused by the groups of people who often loiter in the parking lot in front of his store.
Chris Staab, president of the Near Eastside Community Organization, said this is an issue at the Citgo and several other 24-hour gas stations in the area.
”Society’s problems seem to accumulate at these locations late at night,” said Staab.
Singh said these large groups outside of his gas station have been responsible for fights, drug activity and shootings before.
According to public police reports, IMPD has responded to the Citgo address for at least six separate shootings since the beginning of 2021. This includes a double shooting in Aug of 2021.
Singh said the gas station has been open for less than two years.
“While they’re concerned more about the contents inside their store, they really don’t control what goes on in the parking lots, and that is a concern to the community,” said Staab.
Singh was not available for an on-camera interview. He said he has reached out in the past to IMPD, asking for additional eyes on his property.
Foley said IMPD’s ability to work with businesses depends on staffing and availability, but they certainly do it.
”We certainly welcome the opportunity to go to businesses, to sit on the property, to have a cup of coffee, to engage in conversations with those business owners, and if that’s something they want, we encourage them to reach out to their district office,” Foley said.
At the same time, he said business owners should not rely on IMPD for all of their security needs.
”Property owners also have a responsibility to maintain the security of their own property,” Foley said.
Singh said he does not see a need to hire security because the crowds in his parking lot are not stealing any products or harming his property.
Staab said NESCO has asked owners and managers at similar 24-hour gas stations with similar problems to hire security before. He said IMPD can help, but security shouldn’t be left completely up to IMPD in what can be a very volatile environment.
”If there had been security in that parking lot, maybe three people would not have been shot,” Staab said.
The gas station is right on the edge of an area getting special attention from the city and IMPD. Just across Washington St. marks the southern border of the area IMPD will be using for a gunshot detection system pilot program.
Foley said IMPD is still in the process of getting the program started.
“It’s going to be in three phases where each vendor is going to have the program activated 24 hours a day to figure out: does that improve our responses? Does that improve our ability to identify when gunshots occur? Does it improve our ability to identify individuals that are firing gunshots?” Foley said.
Foley said it was unclear if the gunshot detection systems would be able to pick up something like this shooting happening across the street from the designated area.