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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A suburban Indianapolis Army veteran has been convicted in the road rage shooting death of a Muslim man, after witnesses said he hurled ethnic and religious insults at the victim, including yelling, “Go back to your country,” before opening fire.

A Marion County jury convicted Dustin E. Passarelli, 37, of murder on Wednesday after a three-day trial over the February 2019 killing of 32-year-old Mustafa Ayoubi. Passarelli, of Plainfield, could get up to 65 years in prison when he’s sentenced June 21 on the murder charge.

He was also convicted of a firearm enhancement charge that could boost his sentence by up to 20 years, the county prosecutor’s office said.

Defense attorney, Chris Eskew, told The Indianapolis Star that he and Passarelli were disappointed by the verdict, but he declined to comment further about the case until after the sentencing.

Passarelli shot and killed Ayoubi following a road rage incident on Interstate 465 that led to Passarelli following Ayoubi to an apartment complex on the city’s northwest side, according to court documents.

Passarelli told police that Ayoubi either threw something at his car or collided with it on the highway and that after he followed Ayoubi to the apartment complex, Ayoubi broke one of Passarelli’s car windows with a punch.

The defense argued that Passarelli was within his rights to fire at Ayoubi because it was self-defense.

Multiple witnesses said Passarelli and Ayoubi shouted inflammatory remarks at each other in front of a townhome. They said Passarelli yelled religious and ethnic insults at the unarmed Ayoubi, including, “Go back to your country,” shortly before he shot him.

Passarelli claimed that post-traumatic stress disorder he developed during his time in the Army contributed to his behavior on the highway and was partially to blame for the shooting. But Passarelli’s mental evaluation and PTSD claims were ruled inadmissible in court.

Passarelli was not charged with a hate crime. The FBI had said it was looking into whether Ayoubi’s killing involved a federal civil rights violation, but no federal charges were ever filed.

Six weeks after Ayoubi’s killing, Indiana lawmakers passed a hate crimes bill that included a provision allowing judges to impose longer sentences for crimes motivated by bias.

Before the bill became law, Indiana was one of five states without a hate crime law.

Ayoubi’s sister, who had urged lawmakers to pass a hate crime law, told The Indianapolis Star that her family was originally from Afghanistan and arrived in the United States in 2001 as refugees. They later became U.S. citizens.

Zahra Ayoubi said Wednesday that the verdict can allow her family to finally begin to celebrate her younger brother’s life four years after his killing.

“I wish this never happened,” she said. “The true justice would be if we were all still together right now. However, he died. And he left a legacy.”

Mustafa Ayoubi (Provided Photo/Family)

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — In what has demonstrated to be a successful year for Indianapolis-based Lilly, the latest accolade is the drugmaker becoming the world’s most valued pharma company.

Lilly’s market capitalization grew to $414.3 billion on Wednesday, overtaking New Jersey based Johnson & Johnson.

Lilly’s sales have increased due to the success of its diabetes drug Mounjaro, and the promise of its new Alzheimer’s drug, which the company plans to roll out later this year.

Lilly is the 12th largest drugmaker in the world, with sales of nearly $30 billion.

INDIANPOLIS — The nonprofit news organization Indiana Local News Initiative announced Friday that they have hired its first Community Journalism Director and have formed a CEO search committee.

The organization is dedicated to filling information gaps across Indiana, facilitating investment in local journalism, and fostering collaboration among Indiana media outlets.

The group is launching a 25-person news organization in Central Indiana later this year. According to a press release, they have hired Ariana Beedie as Central Indiana Community Journalism Director.

Beedie joins the group from the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center, where she was Director of Neighborhood Engagement.

Beedie started in Indiana journalism in Evansville, Ind. and co-founded FAF Collective, an online publication highlighting stories of black, brown and marginalized people in Indianapolis.

She has also worked for WFYI and has been published in AFROPUNK and Sixty Inches from Center.

“It’s very exciting to be able to work with my two passions: journalism and community,” Beedie said. “Indianapolis is an incredible city. This publication will highlight, elevate and truly engage residents around what’s happening in our neighborhoods. It will work for and with neighbors to ensure the stories are accurate, and truly serve and reflect Central Indiana communities.”

Bringing a wide breadth of journalism, media, business, and nonprofit experience in Indiana to the organization, founding board members include Carolene Mays, former State Representative & president of the Indianapolis Recorder; Mark Miles, CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp.; Michael Ouimette, Chief Investment Officer of the American Journalism Project; Melissa Proffitt, Partner at Ice Miller; Myrta Pulliam, journalist and community leader; and Nichole Wilson, Vice President of Community Health Operations at Indiana University Health. Karen Ferguson Fuson, former publisher of the Indianapolis Star and president of Gannett West Group, is board chair.

“This initiative will help bring to light all of the many untold stories that make up the fabric of our community—the individuals, neighbors and the contributions they make, the stories they’ve lived and persevered through,” Wilson said. “We will be sharing impactful stories of the people doing real work in our neighborhoods and our cities on a more consistent, authentic basis.”

“The success of this project will strengthen our democracy by better informing Hoosiers about topics important to them,” Miles said. “This initiative is vital for the future of our state and I’m proud to be supporting it as a founding board member.”

Ferguson Fuson, Mays, and Ouimette are serving on the initiative’s CEO search committee along with Irving Washington, senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation, who is from Indianapolis and was previously CEO of the Online News Association, one of the world’s largest membership organizations for digital journalists, and a leader at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). The initiative is looking for a CEO that is passionate about the future of the entire state and the role that public journalism has to play in strengthening local democracy and our communities; who can deliver on the initiative’s mission to fill gaps, facilitate investments, and foster collaboration; and who can build and lead an ambitious civic institution that is equitable, inclusive, and representative of the diversity of the state. The incoming CEO has the opportunity to blaze a trail. The board and search committee welcome applications from people of all professional backgrounds and from all sectors. More information can be found at

The initiative’s search for a Central Indiana Editor in Chief is ongoing, and more open roles will follow. The latest information about openings is available at

“This initiative started with community input and grew into a broad coalition that is one of the largest of its kind in the country. The addition of these dedicated community leaders in our state is our first step in building an organization that can fill critical gaps in local news and information and enable our neighborhoods and communities to thrive,” Ferguson Fuson said.  “We are grateful for the input and support we’ve received from community members throughout this process and hope to continue working in partnership to realize this ambitious mission.”

WISH-TV and Circle City Broadcasting are proud to partner with the Indiana Local News Initiative. 

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A newly built eco-friendly home on the east side won Ball State students a first-place prize at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Build Challenge.

The international challenge had Ball State student, Alejandra Lagunas, on the project for two years.

“The home is called Alley House. Some of the elements that we have here in the house, like the cabinets and the stairs, the material was selected by the students,” she said. “And it was also built by the students.”

Lagunas says the goal of Alley House was to create an affordable two-family house that is net zero energy and sustainable.

“The home was paid for by grants and fundraising,” said Pam Harwood, a professor of architecture at Ball State. “The total cost to make it was $746,000 for two duplexes. That’s basically a home at 2,786 square feet with six bedrooms and four baths. It’s efficient and ends up being about $266 a square foot.”

Applications to live in this eco-friendly home will be accepted through the Englewood Community Development Corporation.

“Rent is between 30 percent and 60 percent of the average medium income,” said Harwood. “Rent range will be between $490 to $900.”

The home will be rent-to-own for 15 years before the tenant will be able to purchase it.

UPDATE: The intersection has been reopened, according to police.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A school bus accident has closed part of Hillside Avenue, near 25th and Keystone Avenues on the North side of Indianapolis.

IMPD says there were no children on the bus at the time and the accident involves multiple vehicles.

The intersection is expected to be closed for the next few hours for police investigation.

Drivers and pedestrians are asked to avoid the area and find alternative routes.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Ben Davis Wall of fame recognizes Ben Davis High School graduates who since graduation have demonstrated a high level of achievement in their field of endeavor and/or who have made significant contributions through achievement, service, or leadership.

WISH-TV owner DuJuan McCoy was inducted Sunday. He is the founder and owner of Circle City Broadcasting

McCoy is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana, graduating from Ben Davis High School in 1985.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Court documents shed more light on the case of Oaklee Snow, the one year-old missing since January.

The child’s biological father reported the disappearance of Oaklee and another male child on January 19 from his home in Oklahoma.

The father believed the children were taken by the biological mother and her boyfriend, and taken to Indianapolis.

Today, Marion County prosecutor Ryan Mears announced charges against the mother, 22-year-old Madison Marshall and her boyfriend, 26-year-old Roan Waters.

Waters faces multiple charges including murder. Marshall also faces multiple charges including two counts of neglect of a dependent resulting in death and assisting a criminal.

Waters was arrested in Colorado, Marshall in North Carolina.

During interviews with investigators, Marshall alleged that Waters killed Oaklee and they moved her body to an abandoned structure in Morgan County, Indiana.

Oaklee’s body was located in a dresser drawer of an abandoned structure there, according to court documents.

The male child was abandoned as well, but was recovered and returned to his father in Oklahoma.

“As parents we have a duty to protect our children. Not only did these two individuals fail to live up to that responsibility, but the allegations in the probable cause affidavit indicate that Oaklee suffered a horrific death and an abandonment that diminished the dignity that any child deserves,” Prosecutor Mears stated. “I want to thank the multiple law enforcement agencies and our prosecutors who worked tirelessly to locate this child and seek justice on her behalf.”

“This case is one of the most challenging types of cases for a community and for our investigators, said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor.  “I want to thank the hard work the IMPD Missing Persons Unit detectives put into this investigation. When they learned there was a chance Oaklee Snow may have been in Indianapolis, detectives put in a tremendous amount of effort into locating her. I want to also thank all of the law enforcement agencies who assisted in this investigation, both in Indiana and across the country.”

(Oaklee Snow, Provided photo IMPD)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — WISH-TV won four awards at the Society of Professional Journalists banquet Friday night.

Journalists in our newsroom won for the following:

First Place – Documentary or Special, “The Living Truth: The Emmett Till Special.”

First Place – Continuing Coverage “The Delphi Murders”

Second Place – Best Coverage of Race and Diversity Issues

Third Place – Best Newscast/WISH-TV News at 6

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Gas prices in Indiana are up 16 cents a gallon in the last week, according to AAA.

Last week the Indiana statewide average for regular unleaded was $3.56 per gallon. Today the average is up to $3.72. Gas prices have gone up daily, according to AAA.

Prices are up further from a month ago, when the statewide average was $3.35 a gallon.

Indiana is paying more than the national average, which sits at $3.64.

AAA says the culprit is the high cost of oil, which is hovering in the low $80s per barrel. The national average has risen daily since March 29.

“When the cost of crude oil crosses the $80 a barrel mark, that puts a lot of upward pressure on what we pay at the pump,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, “and as long as oil costs remain at the current level, drivers will likely see incremental price increases for now.”

“According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand decreased from 9.3 to 8.94 million b/d last week. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks dropped slightly by 400,000 bbl to 222.2 million bbl. Lower demand would typically push pump prices down; instead, elevated oil prices have pushed them higher. If oil prices continue to rise, pump prices will follow suit,” according to AAA.

Today’s national average of $3.64 is 17 cents more than a month ago but 44 cents less than a year ago.

The site says the cheapest gas in the state is in Elkhart, Ind, at $3.19 a gallon for regular unleaded.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying the organizers or promoters of an advertised event.

The IMPD’s Nuisance and Abatement division has been working to shut down parties at short term rental properties like AirBND and VRBO.

Police ask that anyone with information regarding this flyer contact IMPD Nuisance and Abatement by email at

Or call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317.262.8477 or (TIPS) to remain anonymous.