INDIANAPOLIS - Police confirmed Tuesday morning a woman was critically wounded by gunfire in a day care parking lot on the northwest side of Indianapolis. Officers said they are searching for the woman's ex-husband.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) said at roughly 7:20 a.m., a report came in on a woman who had been shot in the area of 38th Street and Interstate 465. The woman was reportedly shot in the parking lot of Eagle View KinderCare in the 6700 block of Eagle View Drive.
Police said they are searching for the woman's ex-husband, Christopher Justice. He's described as 33 years old, black and roughly 6 feet 1 inch tall with black hair, brown eyes and light skin. Police said he is driving a 2006 black Ford Fusion with an Indiana plate reading "In God We Trust." His plate number is UXR330.
Police believe the shooting was a result of a custody dispute. The woman, later identified as 31-year-old Shirley Justice, refused to give up custody of their child despite the existence of a court order.
Police said on Feb. 10, a judge modified the custody provision of their divorce decree, giving the father sole custody of their 6-year-old daughter.
"In this case, the issue was that there was the health and safety of a young girl at stake, and we believe that young girl was in serious physical and emotional danger and that's why we acted by filing the motion that we filed this morning," Jennifer Bays Beinart, custody attorney for Christopher Justice, said.
Police said Shirley Justice was dropping her children off at the day care when she was shot in the parking lot. Officers said she was walking back out to her car when she was shot. The day care's director pulled into the lot and found her on the ground, shot several times, police said.
IMPD said the woman was conscious and alert when officers arrived, and was able to tell them what had happened. Police said she reported being shot by her ex. She was taken to an area hospital and was in critical condition at last check.
Many children immediately went home with their parents, but it might be something they'll never forget.
"If the child wants to talk about it then they should be open and available to talk about that. If the child doesn't want to, parents should check in with that child to make sure that the child is handling it well," Melinda Mains, Vice President of Development and Communications with The Julian Center, said.
Follow Derrik Thomas on Twitter: @derrikthomas