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Fight over girl led to drive-by shooting in Lincoln Park, court docs say

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — The shooting in Columbus, Indiana on May 23 that sent four people to a hospital started because of a fight over a girl, court documents released Tuesday say.

Around 7:35 p.m. May 23, Columbus police officers were dispatched to the Lincoln Park basketball court after being informed of multiple people being shot during what officers later determined was a drive-by shooting.

Court papers say witnesses told investigators on the scene that a grey or silver car pulled up beside the basketball court, and saw 18-year-old Edmarius Oats roll down a back window and start shooting into a crowd of people on the court.

After the shots were fired, the driver of the car, 18-year-old Alexander Parker, sped away from the court.

Court papers identified two of the four people who were shot in the drive-by as 18-year-old Gavin Hardin and 23-year-old Tyler Hamm. The two others injured were juveniles, ages 16 and 17.

Investigators later learned Hardin had been in conflict with Oats over a girl they both previously dated.

According to court documents, detectives discovered that while Hardin was at the basketball court, another person at the court called Oats over Instagram and invited him to play basketball.

When Oats learned Hardin was at the court, documents say that Oats exchanged words with him, with the person acting as a middleman. Oats then used expletives to say he was going to shoot Hardin.

The shooting happened almost a half hour after the phone call to Oats ended, court papers say.

Court documents say that the mother of one of the people injured in the shooting told investigators that Hardin had dated a girl that Oats also previously dated. The woman also told officers that Hardin was receiving threatening messages from Oats.

After the shooting, court documents say, investigators found Parker and the suspected car driving toward Franklin, Indiana. Parker was taken into custody. He told officers that he was the driver of the vehicle during the shooting, but wouldn’t say who was in the car with him.

During a search of Parker’s vehicle, investigators located three 9 mm shell casings and two unspent .22-caliber bullets.

Investigators later found Oats’ Instagram, court papers say. Oats’ account showed several posts of him holding various firearms and cash. Detectives saved the images from the posts, only to later learn that the posts had been deleted after officers saw the pictures.

Detectives were told by witnesses that Oats was seen being dropped off at this home in the 2400 block of Old Field Lane after the shooting. Court documents say that investigators watched the residence until a warrant for Oats was obtained.

A perimeter around Oats’ home was set up by a SWAT team. Oats was contacted by negotiators, and he later surrendered himself to police shortly after midnight on May 23.

Investigators spoke with Oats, who denied being involved in the shooting, having conflict with Hardin, and denied being invited to come to Lincoln Park to play basketball.

Oats was also shown photos of him holding guns from his Instagram, but court papers say he told detectives the guns were not his.

Officers were later able to search Oats’ home, and found an empty box of 9 mm ammunition, another unspent .22-caliber round, a holster, and a plastic box for a 15-round 9 mm magazine.

Online court documents say Oats is facing charges of one count of attempted murder intentional of killing another and four counts of aggravated battery use, all of which are felonies.

Parker is also facing felony charges for four counts of aggravated battery use and one count of assisting a criminal.

Both Parker and Oats were being held at the Batholomew County jail without bond as of Tuesday evening. Initial hearings have not been set yet.

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