Prosecutor files adult charges against teen in Grand Park campus shooting
Westfield poilce arrest teen in Grand Park Sports Campus shooting
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Hamilton County prosecutor has filed adult criminal charges against the teen suspected in a shooting on the Grand Park campus in Westfield.
The prosecutor filed charges that included three counts of attempted murder against Elijah Preston Earl, 17.
Earl was scheduled to appear before a judge in Hamilton County on Monday afternoon.
Earl was arrested on Nov. 8 in connection with the shooting incident. The shooting happened just before 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 5 outside the Pacers Athletic Center in Westfield.
Investigators have previously told News 8 that an altercation happened after a basketball game inside the facility.
Police said a juvenile then followed a coach to his vehicle, and fired three rounds in the direction of the coach’s car as it drove away.
The shots fired caused damage to four other vehicles. The coach’s truck was not struck by any of the gunfire, court documents say.
Court documents obtained by News 8 say that investigators, after speaking with the coach, learned that during the game, there was tension between the two teams. After the game ended, the coach told officers he continued to notice tension and was going to wait for the opposing team to leave the complex before leaving with his family.
The coach told police that when he noticed the other team wasn’t leaving after some time, he left with his family.
He then says that when he got out to his truck, a white GMC Sierra, three people came out of the complex after him, court documents say. He described them to investigators as two members of the opposing team and Earl, who the coach saw sitting with his wife at the score table.
The coach described Earl as “walking with his hands by his waist, and he hurried into his vehicle with his family.” He also told investigators a “minor verbal altercation” occurred when he tried to tell Earl and the other two players that “he was just trying to leave,” court papers say.
The coach told investigators that as he got into his truck, he saw the three people duck behind some cars before gunshots rang out through the parking lot. He told police he “immediately exited the parking lot and left the area.”
The coach’s wife later told investigators that she believed the three kids were possibly targeting her son.
Investigators later reviewed security camera footage from inside the athletic center. Minutes before the shooting, the coach and his family can be seen leaving the gym. Shortly after, Earl is seen leaving the athletic center, as well.
Court documents say that at 6:28 p.m., “a sound resembling gunshots can be possibly heard three or four times” from the footage. Immediately after this, multiple juveniles and other people can be seen running inside the gym, one yelling the coach’s name.
“Within the same minute, (Earl) can be seen entering the Pacers Athletic Center with a female and two other black males, holding his waistband. These individuals can be heard laughing as they go inside,” court documents say.
Investigators later interviewed Earl and his father on Nov. 7. Earl’s father said during the interview that another one of his sons was “getting into it” with the coach’s son. He told detectives that the tensions were high, and toward the end, the boys “were told to sit the bench after being separated by a referee.”
After the game, he let his sons go to the car while he spoke with other parents, court documents say. Shortly after, his sons ran back inside the gym, saying someone was shooting outside.
Earl then spoke with investigators. He corroborated his father’s statement, especially on the tension between the coach’s son and his brother. When Earl and his brothers went outside, court documents say, the coach allegedly used expletives to tell the boys to stay away.
Earl said that he and his brothers moved between cars to avoid interacting with the coach, and then as the coach was getting in his truck, he heard multiple gunshots go off.
Court documents say Earl didn’t see who was shooting the gun. Investigators told Earl that multiple witnesses placed him as the person firing shots toward the coach. Earl and his father both said that they did not own guns.
Investigators showed Earl pictures of him found on social media which showed him carrying guns. Earl and his father then said that Earl was charged with illegally possessing a handgun while they lived in Atlanta. Earl continued to say that he currently did not own any guns and had no explanation why witnesses identified him as the shooter, court documents say.
Detectives then informed Earl that based on investigators’ findings at the scene, Earl’s description of the coach shooting toward him would not line up with where shell casings and bullets were found. Earl then agreed to the detective’s offer to speak with a lawyer.
Investigators later searched Earl’s home and located two handguns.
No one was injured in the shooting.