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Dad of survivor in Castleton mall shooting: Confusing ‘identical’ cars led to gunfire

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The father of the 21-year-old man shot and injured Tuesday night outside the Castleton Square Mall told News 8 on Thursday that the gunfire started as a result of a mix-up and not, as police initially believed, a fight in the mall.

Michael Mason Jr., a 16-year-old boy, died at a hospital shortly after the shooting.

Eddie Smith Sr.’s son is recovering from four gunshot wounds to the legs. Smith declined to share his son’s name with News 8, and police by Thursday had not released the name or age of the man injured in the shooting.

Smith is a pastor at Tuxedo Park Baptist Church, located on the city’s east side off Washington Street east of North Sherman Drive. Smith says his son mentored young men, which is why he was at the northeast side mall with the teenager who died.

Smith told News 8 that his son “likes taking young guys under his wing. He went to state in wrestling. I mean all-American. He played lacrosse and just an all-around good kid, and for this to happen is just … to be going to the mall to grab something to eat and to hang out, and to not make it home is unacceptable.”

Smith says his son drives a white Chevrolet Impala, which was parked next to a similar-looking car that the shooter was in.

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.”

An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department detective confirmed that information for Smith.

“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.”

Smith calls the violence senseless. “Apparently there is something going on with the guy. I have had a chance to talk to the authorities, and there is something going on with him and that’s as much as they want to say now, but, again, there was absolutely nothing; no ill intent, no ill will, no altercation. This guy murdered a kid.”

No criminal charges had been announced by Thursday night in the Tuesday night shooting.

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 Monday. He was the city’s first homicide of 2023. No arrest had been announced by Thursday night. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department was called at about 2:45 p.m. Monday 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.

Brandon Banks, 17, was found shot to death in a car about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday 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 had been announced by Thursday night.


“Our hearts go out to the families who are in the impossible position of burying their child. 

“The City of Indianapolis is working to address violence among youth through a combination of community-based grants that provide youth-focused programming, and a gun violence reduction strategy that targets individuals at highest risk of experiencing gun violence.

“We encourage all residents to help Indianapolis youth, whether through mentorship, engagement with youth-serving organizations, or empowerment to use conflict-resolution skills before reaching for a weapon.”

Thursday night email “from city spokesperson”

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