Indiana man suspected of shooting three Dutch soldiers charged with murder, attempted murder
Prosecutors on Thursday announced charges against a 22-year-old man accused of killing a Dutch Army commando in Indianapolis over the weekend. Two other commandos were injured in the downtown shooting on what was supposed to be a fun night out for the military members while they were off duty.
Shamar Duncan, 22, is facing one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct in the shooting early Saturday morning, prosecutors in Marion County, Indiana announced at a press conference. The incident happened on the 100 block of Meridian Street at around 3:30 a.m. while the soldiers were in front of their hotel.
All three commandos were taken to an area hospital, including two transported in critical condition. Simmie Poetsema, 26, later died as the result of a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. Poetsema's death was ruled a homicide. The other two victims were recovering. Neither had life threatening injuries, the Dutch Ministry of Defense said.
Video evidence, eyewitness accounts, license plate scanners, and other investigative techniques and "covert technology" led to the arrest, said Kendale Adams, the deputy chief of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. "I would like to express my candid disgust at the senseless and tragic event that has led us here today. The life-taking due to senseless gun violence of a hero is disgraceful," he said.
It started when words were exchanged between the group "that led to the fight, and then the subsequent shooting," Adams said. One person involved told police the Dutch men were headed back to their hotel for the night when another group of guys bumped into them, allegedly including Duncan. This led to a pushing match, where someone from Duncan's group was knocked out with a single punch. The Dutch commandos repeatedly said they did not want a fight, according to the probable cause affidavit filed in the case.
Up to ten people were involved in the altercation on the street. Duncan's group all ran back to their Ford F-150 pickup truck. As they drove off, someone in the truck asked to pull over because he had forgotten his phone, one of Duncan's friends told detectives. The gunshots rang out less than two minutes after the fight. "Shamar was shooting" from the backseat, the man said.
The unidentified person said Duncan told one of their friends he started shooting because "I just spazzed." Duncan was taken into custody on Tuesday.
More arrests are possible in the case, said Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears. “We’re evaluating everybody’s conduct and what did people know and when did they know it and what was their conduct after the fact." Mears said his office had only had a case for a full day, and the press conference should not be interpreted as the end of the investigation.
The Ministry of Defense said that the victims, including Poetsema's remains, will be transported back to the Netherlands later this week. They were in the United States for urban combat training exercises at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Indiana.