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Court docs reveal why suspect shot at pair entering wrong car at Castleton Square Mall

UPDATE: The IMPD Violent Crime Unit located Clyde Johnson on Wednesday and arrested him for the January shooting outside Castleton Square Mall that killed 16-year-old Michael Mason Jr. and wounded 21-year-old Justin Johnson-Sparks.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A court issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for an Indianapolis man criminally charged in connection to an early January shooting outside Castleton Square Mall.

Michael Mason Jr., 16, died and Justin Johnson-Sparks, 21, was hurt in the shooting after 7:30 p.m. Jan. 3 at Castleton Square Mall. The shooting was at the south entrance of the mall near Forever 21 and H&M.

Marion Superior Court 29 issued a warrant for Clyde Michael Johnson, 19, of Indianapolis. A special prosecutor out of Madison County is seeking Johnson on charges of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated battery, and battery by means of a deadly weapon.

Court documents explain why Johnson shot at the pair.

The shooting involved two white Chevrolet Impalas “which were nearly identical.” Johnson had initially been in one of the cars, and Johnson-Sparks had parked the other nearby before entering the mall with friends including Michael.

Investigators with Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department found Johnson’s Impala had a firearm with an extended magazine in the trunk, and a shot-out rear-passenger window.

Johnson-Sparks, from his hospital room, told investigators that he and Michael were returning to the parking lot to move their Impala to another location when he opened the door to the nearly identical Impala. That’s when Johnson fired at Michael and Johnson-Sparks.

Johnson-Sparks told investigators that he ran as Johnson pursued him. Johnson-Sparks also told Johnson that “he attempted to enter the wrong car. Later, Johnson-Sparks said he “pretended to be dead,” causing Johnson to return to the Impala he was in.

Johnson later told at least two witnesses at the scene that he’d shot Michael. “I did it, I did it,” one witness recalled Johnson saying.

Johnson told investigators that he thought Michael and Johnson-Sparks were trying to rob him and his friend who were in the backseat, so he grabbed his handgun and shot Michael and Johnson-Sparks.

Johnson also told investigators he didn’t hear Johnson-Sparks say that he’d tried to enter the wrong Impala. Johnson also explained that he’d shot at the pair because he’d witnessed a murder of his friend’s mother in November and believed he was “being hunted.”

Johnson-Sparks’ father, Eddie Smith Sr., told News 8 a few days after the shooting that his son received four gunshot wounds to his legs. Court documents say Johnson-Sparks received three gunshot wounds to his legs.

Smith described the scene to News 8 as he’d learned it from his son and additional witnesses: “From inside the car, (the shooter) just unloaded on them and then got out, shot him some more while he was down, and then began to chase after my son, and then when he caught my son, my son had to crawl into a fetal position, in a ball.”

“There was absolutely no altercation,” Smith said. “This was basically a 16-year-old kid grabbing the door handle and trying to get into a car that’s identical to my son’s car and this kid being gunned down.”

The fatal shooting of Michael outside the mall was the second of three homicides to start 2023 in Indianapolis. All three homicides involved teen boys.

James Martin, 15, died with what police called “unintentional gunshot wounds” at an Indianapolis hospital on Jan. 2. He was the city’s first homicide of 2023. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department was called at about 2:45 p.m. Jan. 2 to Community Hospital East, 1500 N. Ritter Ave. Martin was initially listed as stable upon arrival at the hospital but died later, police say. Detectives later determined Martin’s shooting happened at a house in the 2400 block of West Arlington Court. That’s southwest of the I-70 overpass for North Arlington Avenue on the east side. No arrest has been announced.

Brandon Banks, 17, was found shot to death in a car about 3:30 p.m. Jan. 4 in the 1800 block of Ingram Street. That is off of Roosevelt Drive close to I-70. Police have released few details about that case. No arrest has been announced.