INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — East-side residents and local members of the Black Panther party questioned the police department’s handling of a fatal shooting investigation involving a security guard.
Melvin Hall, 33, was not arrested immediately after the shooting Friday morning despite multiple witnesses linking him to the homicide.
He was later detained and questioned by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers, then released.
“I understand the family could want something done quicker. I think our goal is to make sure that it’s done right,” IMPD Chief Randal Taylor told News 8.
He said he was unfamiliar with the case details and couldn’t explain why the detective leading the investigation released the potential suspect from police custody.
On Tuesday, Hall was charged with murder in connection with the shooting.
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Witnesses said he gave no verbal warning before shooting 25-year-old Nataysia Williams three times.
Williams was idling in a car outside the Towne and Terrace complex in the 4100 block of Brentwood Drive after getting into a heated argument that did not involve Hall, according to authorities.
Ryan Mears, the Marion County prosecutor, said there was “certainly a conversation about a firearm being present.”
A witness heard Williams say she had a gun and “you lucky I ain’t got no bullets,” according to the probable cause affidavit.
Hall approached the car with a flashlight and stopped when he was approximately 4 feet from the passenger side, the document states.
Williams “put her hand in her seat where her weapon was at,” said Liberty Carnell, who was sitting in the backseat of the car. “He flashed the light. She’s still not paying attention because she’s looking out the window. She’s still talking. And he shot three times.”
Williams was pronounced dead less than two hours after the shooting.
Darrien Carter, the victim’s cousin, said the two “weren’t strangers”; Hall provided security at a club where Williams worked as a dancer.
Hall “shouldn’t have left the scene…. Stuff like this shouldn’t happen at all,” the Indianapolis Black Panther party chair told News 8.
The IMPD chief maintained he was confident his officers handled the investigation properly and did not believe the case warranted any review.
Investigations into the aftermath of the shooting are pending.
The prosecutor indicated additional charges could be filed if authorities determine Hall prevented people from rendering aid to the shooting victim.
Bystanders involved in setting the security guard’s vehicle on fire could also face criminal charges.
Hall was charged with impersonating an officer in 2015; he was acquitted in that case.