Police said they have made an arrest in what they called a gang-related string of shootings that injured 10 young people during the final weekend of Indiana Black Expo's Summer Celebration.During an afternoon news conference, police said a tip led them to Shamus Patton, 17, who was spotted walking at the Westpark Apartments in the 7800 block of West 10th Street around 3 p.m. and was arrested without incident.
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Patton, who had previously been named as a person of interest, was preliminarily charged with aggravated battery, criminal recklessness and firearms charges.Eight boys -- ranging in age from 10 to 19 years old -- were struck by gunfire near the intersection of Illinois and Maryland streets just after 9:30 p.m. Saturday, while a 16-year-old boy was shot a few minutes later at the corner of Georgia and Meridian streets and a 15-year-old boy was shot in the 100 block of West Market Street just before 11:30 p.m., police said.Patton's mother, Barbara Turentine, said she believes her son is innocent."I asked him when I talked to him, and he said he didn't do it," she said.Pictures from a Facebook page in Shamus Patton's name show photos of gang signs, guns and money."They're trying to say he did the eight shootings, but the thing is, how can he be in all these different places?" she said. "I thought the law was you're innocent until proven guilty, but they're already just saying he's guilty."City and police leaders applauded quick work by investigators on Monday."This is a safe city, this is a city where public safety is job one, and if you commit a crime, whether it's violent or not, we will pursue you relentlessly and we will find you and we will bring you to justice," said Public Safety Director Frank Straub.
All official Summer Celebration events ended at 10 p.m. Saturday, and expo officials had urged teens to be home by curfew, which is 11 p.m. for those 14 years old and younger and 1 a.m. for those 15 years old to 17 years old.
"This incident does not define Summer Celebration, it does not define Black Expo and does not define the city of Indianapolis, nor the African-American community here in the city of Indianapolis," Mayor Greg Ballard said during a Sunday news conference with police, IBE and clergy leaders.The shootings were the talk of the airwaves on Monday radio programs, with many callers concerned those involved with the violence were children."Where are the parents? I'd love to hear any justification," one caller asked 6News political contributor Abdul-Hakim Shabazz on his WXNT morning show."These kids really have to learn that they must be responsible for their actions, one way or the other," another caller said.
Indianapolis clergy members also called on parents to stand up and supervise their children in the wake of the violence.Some in the business community told 6News' Dan Spehler that they're worried the shootings could give downtown Indianapolis a bad name.
"Anytime there's an incident in downtown Indianapolis, it's cause for concern," said Indianapolis Convention and Visitors' Association spokesman Chris Gahl, "not only for our tourism community, but for our entire community."According to the ICVA, IBE's Summer Celebration brings in more than $23 million in direct visitor spending every year.Still, some restaurant owners, many who didn't want to go on camera, said the safety concerns outweigh a busy weekend."Nobody wants to work those shifts. They want to give them up because they're afraid for their safety when they're trying to get home," said Jon Andrus, owner of O'Reilly's Irish Pub. "Businesses have been told they can not close Black Expo weekend however, there is a safety issue involved and, you know, it's tough because it's such a divisive issue and I think people just don't want to be insensitive."Police said there were 16 non-curfew-related arrests over the weekend, compared with 75 arrests last year. Officers also made 54 curfew-related-arrests, compared with 96 last year.Straub said public safety officials are considering what steps can be taken during similar big events, including the possibility of creating a traffic-free "safe zone" where no weapons would be allowed.But people downtown Monday said there's only so much the city can do."(City officials) did what they were supposed to do, they had police there. But you can't watch everybody," said Eric Waterford.About 500 police officers were assigned to downtown Indianapolis for the Summer Celebration, officials said."I would like to see more parents doing more with their kids," said William Johnson."You're going to have people who act out and do bad things everywhere," said Lisa Gamble. "I don't know what the answer is."Indiana Black Expo officials said they would discuss the shootings more in depth at a news conference on Tuesday.