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Quadruple shooting at Columbus park rattles neighbors

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — A young woman who lives near the scene of Tuesday night’s shooting said the fact that it involved people her age scares her the most.

Americas Hankins on Wednesday said she and her mother heard the sirens when police responded to the scene. Their home sits just a few hundred yards from the site. She said she saw paramedics load one of the victims onto a helicopter for a flight to an Indianapolis hospital.

Four people were shot at a basketball court at Lincoln Park just before 7:40 p.m. Tuesday. Three of them were taken to Indianapolis hospitals due to the severity of their injuries. The fourth was taken to a Columbus-area hospital. Police described two of the victims as juveniles and two more as young adults. Authorities have not released any updates on their condition.

Hankins, who recently turned 18 and will graduate from high school this weekend, said she immediately wondered whether there would be any empty seats at her graduation when she learned the victims’ ages.

“My graduation is a big thing for me and I would hate for that to happen to somebody else, and then thinking about what the parents would be going through this close to graduation,” she said. “I know my mom would be devastated if something happened to me this close.”

Chuck Kirtman said he spends his lunch break at the park every day and sees children playing ball games all the time. He said Lincoln Park plays a big role in the community, particularly for youth sports.

“I don’t think it’s an unsafe area at all, but we’ve had a couple of these incidents here recently that kind of makes you wonder what’s going on around here,” he said.

Kirtman said he doesn’t plan to change his use of the park, though he added he doesn’t go there after dark.

Police arrested 18-year-old Alexander Parker and 18-year-old Edmarius Oats in connection with the shooting. Both face charges of aggravated battery and criminal recklessness with a weapon and Parker faces an additional charge of assisting a criminal.

Hankins said she and her family spent Wednesday inside out of caution and to process what they saw last night. She said police did a good job of responding to the shooting and the incident doesn’t change her overall perception of her safety in the neighborhood.