Surveillance video outside Wheeler Mission gives glimpse into rash of overdoses

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Surveillance video from outside the entrance to the Wheeler Mission Ministries downtown men’s shelter is giving a glimpse into a rash of overdoses that affected dozens of people at the homeless shelter and area nearby.  You may find the video disturbing.

Last week, police said dozens of homeless men started experiencing medical effects consistent with the use of flakka, which may have been mixed with other illegal substances, like PCP. Police said they are still working to figure out what exactly the drug was, though.

“We had a guy trying to bite someone, had a guy running into a wall, hand another guy just laid out in the cold,” the shelter director, William Bumphus, said.

Bumphus said while they were investigating those incidents, they saw another man overdosing on surveillance video. The shelter showed us the video Wednesday. Bumphus said he hopes it helps people see the dangers of using drugs.

“To see this happen, it’s just a sad thing for us and it’s something that we as a community need to kind of focus on what it is we can do together collectively to help these people get help if they need it,” he said.

The surveillance video shows two men who appear to be smoking a substance. The first man disappears from the screen.

“What we can gather and what we think is right here he’s watching him fall out,” Bumphus said. “He’s still smoking, right, no going to get help, no stop smoking none of that stuff, he’s right there and seeing the effects of what’s about to happen to him,” Bumphus said.

In just a matter of minutes, the second man falls to the ground. Bumphus said they found both unresponsive on the ground and called first responders.

Police kicked off an investigation after the spike in overdoses in a short time span. It resulted in the arrests of Melvin Cannon, 59, and Nathaniel Davis, 63. The shelter said neither men had been staying there.

According to court documents obtained this week, when police served a search warrant at the home, the duo said they found multiple baggies of suspected synthetic marijuana, pill bottles with an unknown substance, firearms and cash.

According to the documents Davis admitted to selling synthetic marijuana to supplement his income and Cannon admitted to selling “$5 sacks of synthetic marijuana.”

Both men are facing felony charges.

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