GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — An 18-year-old Whiteland man has been arrested in connection with the Thursday morning shooting death of a 16-year-old Whiteland Community High School sophomore, the Johnson County sheriff says.
Temario Stokes Jr. was shot and killed while waiting for a school bus in Greenwood, the city’s police department says.
Tyrique Radford El was arrested by Greenwood police on Thursday on a preliminary charge of murder. He’s in the Johnson County Jail, says Sheriff Duane Burgess.
Greenwood police said in a Facebook post that Temario was “specifically targeted” while he standing at the bus stop at Providence Drive and Winterwood Drive in the Summerfield Housing addition. The shooting is believed to be an isolated incident.
A statement from the Clark-Pleasant school district indicates the shooting involved a dispute. “Young people need to know that differences can be settled in other ways and that violence is never the appropriate response to any dispute,” the statement said in part.
Greenwood Police Department said Thursday afternoon that it would release no more information until a news conference at 11 a.m. Friday at the Greenwood City Center. WISH-TV will air the news conference live, and also livestream it on the WISH-TV app and on WISHTV.com/live-stream.
Parents of Whiteland sophomore: ‘He wasn’t a bad kid’
Temario and his family had just moved to Johnson County a few months ago His mother, Tiera Evrin Montgomery, said her son was getting along well at the school and had given her no reason to worry. Seconds after her son left the house Thursday morning, she heard gunfire.
Just before 7 a.m. Thursday, Temario was standing at the corner waiting for the bus when police say someone wearing a black hoodie got out of a car and fired several rounds. Police believe the attack was deliberate, and Stokes was the target.
Montgomery said, “When I heard the shots I ran outside and seen my son laying on the ground, shot multiple times.”
The mother added, “I thought it was going to be a regular day … my baby went to school and he would come home. I just cooked last night, made him a pot of greens because that is what he liked, and I’m thinking my baby is going to return home, and he didn’t even get to make it school. The only thing I have to say to the suspect is you didn’t have to do my baby like that. You took my heart right out of my chest, and I hope you find peace within yourself.”
She didn’t see the person that shot her son. She didn’t see a car pull away. She did see her son on the ground. Her grief was too much to talk about the person that pulled the trigger. Her friends and family stood beside her in support as she talked with the gathered news media.
The 16-year-old’s father, Temario Stokes Sr., paints a picture of his son as looking forward to a future working alongside of his dad. “Landscaping. ‘Daddy get me a mower. Let’s do landscaping.’ He wasn’t a bad kid. All kids make bad decisions at one time, but he wasn’t a bad kid. He didn’t deserve this,” Stokes Sr. said.
I-Team 8’s Richard Essex contributed to this report.
Clark-Pleasant Community School Corp. issued the following statement:
|Dear Clark-Pleasant Families & Staff,
It has been an extremely difficult day as most of you know. We lost a young man, who at 16 years of age, had a long life ahead of him. We are saddened especially for Temario Stokes family and we want them to know that they will be in our prayers and our thoughts as we work through this together. We will support the family in any way possible.
The bottom line is that no teenager or student anywhere should ever have to face a tragedy like this. Young people need to know that differences can be settled in other ways and that violence is never the appropriate response to any dispute.
CPCSC has mental health professionals and area faith leaders available all week. These professionals will be available, not only for the remainder of this week, but for as long as it takes for those students and staff who might be in need of support.
Finally when you speak to your children tonight let them know that the adults in their lives, including the family members, teachers, school administrators, ministers and others who love them, are doing everything they can to keep them safe. We stand committed to safety in our schools and community.