INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A judge has determined the fate of a 17-year-old accused of fatally shooting a 16-year-old girl in November at the JW Marriott Indianapolis, the county prosecutor said Wednesday.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers were called for a report of person shot just after 1 a.m. Nov. 21 to the four-star hotel in downtown Indianapolis.
Karla Vasquez, 16, died in the shooting. The 17-year-old boy, who has not been identified, faced preliminary charges of reckless homicide.
Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said in a news release that if the 17-year-old boy had been tried as an adult, he could have faced a felony with a penalty of up to 6 years in prison. Instead, a judge decided the charges against the 17-year-old are true, and the boy will remain incarcerated until his 21st birthday.
In Indiana, information about cases involving juveniles is released at the discretion of the county prosecutor, the judge or both, and the court hearings are not open to the public unless the juvenile is tried as an adult.
The news release also shared new details investigators learned about the shooting: Police officers found Vasquez dead in a hotel room, and witness told investigators that the girl was asleep when the shooting happened. No argument or disturbance led to the shooting, but the teen boy fled the hotel after the shooting. The teen later told police that he’d picked up the gun while at a party and it went off.
“At only sixteen years old, Ms. Vasquez’ life was tragically cut short from a reckless act of gun violence. We continue to see the devastating consequences of unintentional shootings, particularly when young people access firearms that they are not prepared to handle. A greater understanding and adoption of gun safety measures can prevent these tragedies.”Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears