INDIANAPOLIS -- A surveillance camera didn’t capture critical moments in a fatal shooting at a northwest side KFC last month, leaving no evidence to refute the shooter’s self-defense claim.
On Wednesday, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office said it would not file charges in the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Quiana Lashawn Toussaint last month.
Toussaint was killed while training for a new job at the KFC at 7215 N. Michigan Road when the father of two coworkers she had an altercation with walked into the store and shot her. Toussaint was armed with a gun at the time she was shot. Prosecutors cited that, and Indiana’s self-defense statute, as explanation for the ruling.
Since the charging decision was announced, both police and prosecutors have declined to release further information in the case.
But an email sent by a deputy prosecuting attorney to a police investigator, and obtained by RTV6, reveals that prosecutors weren’t able to develop any evidence refuting the father’s self-defense claims because a potential key witness couldn’t be located, and because the store’s interior security camera only caught his actions:
“The State is declining to file charges. After getting in a verbal and physical altercation with two young women, Ms. Toussaint left the KFC and returned armed with a firearm. For several minutes, Ms. Toussaint continued to display the weapon and act aggressively. 911 was called and a disturbance can be heard in the background.
“The two young women called their father, [Redacted], who then arrived at the KFC. He indicated Ms. Toussaint then raised the weapon at him and he fired. The surveillance video takes photographs every second or so and misses this key moment; however, there is no evidence to disprove [Redacted]’s claim of self-defense. Additionally, there is a witness who may be able to provide critical information about those final moments; however, at this time he remains unidentified. We are unable to file charges related to Ms. Toussaint’s death based on the evidence presented to us.”
RTV6 is not identifying the father because he has not been charged in the case. A man who answered a call to the father’s last known contact information said it was a wrong number.
The decision in the case, and the revelation about the gaps in security camera footage, has left Toussaint’s family feeling like they aren’t able to get answers, or justice, in their loved one’s death.
Toussaint’s father, Smith Toussaint, lives in Virginia. But he says he was in the room in Indianapolis when a detective first explained what investigators believed happened on the day his daughter was killed.
“Initially the detective explained there were multiple people assaulting my daughter when she made the decision to go out and get her firearm,” Smith said. “In my eyes, she went to get her firearm for self-defense reasons, because she was the one being assaulted.”
Smith said his daughter had a valid license to carry a handgun. He said the police told him the fact that she went out to get the gun – rather than having already been carrying it at the time – was a complicating factor.
“My understanding is, she didn’t bring it in with her because she was in training,” Smith said. “She didn’t think there was a need to have a firearm with her.”
Toussaint’s family says they heard two different versions of events from police regarding the pivotal moment when she was shot. In one version, a family spokesman said, the coworkers’ father walked into the store, told Toussaint to “drop it” and then shot her as she turned toward him.
In the second version – the one prosecutors were unable to disprove – Toussaint drew her gun on the man as he walked into the store.
“He’s saying when he walked in that door Quiana pulled her gun on him, and he shot her,” a spokesman from Toussaint’s mother’s side said.
Toussaint’s father said he doesn’t buy that story.
“He went up there with only one thing in mind,” Smith said. “He didn’t go trying to deescalate the situation – he went there trying to kill somebody.”
IMPD released a video of a person of interest who may have witnessed the shooting, but who has yet to be located. Toussaint’s family members said they’ve seen that video, but have thus far avoided watching a second, unreleased video that shows parts of the shooting itself.
“We don’t know what to do next,” the family’s spokesman said. “None of us want to see the video. I don’t want to see Quiana shot.”
A review of IMPD incident reports shows Toussaint had been involved in at least three incidents in the months prior to her shooting, among them an intimidation/disturbance with a gun report three days earlier in the 1000 block of West 26th Street and a pointing a firearm investigation in the 400 block of North Sherman Drive on April 5.
Her father, Smith, said Toussaint learned growing up that she “had to be tough.”
“Unfortunately, she was just brought up in a life where you have to be rough, you have to be tough to survive out there,” Smith said. “But she was the most loving and caring of people. She had the biggest heart.”