INDIANAPOLIS – An Indianapolis man faces several charges, including murder, following a weekend shooting in downtown Indianapolis that killed a Dutch soldier and wounded two others.
Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said Shamar Duncan, arrested earlier this week, is now charged with murder, two counts of attempted murder and a count of disorderly conduct.
Murder carries a sentence between 45 and 65 years. Attempted murder carries a sentence between 20 and 40 years.
“The incident that occurred was, unfortunately, yet another example of a simple confrontation turning violent,” Mears said. “[This was an] altercation that turned physical. The initial confrontation did not involve any weapons. But unfortunately, after that initial confrontation concluded, an individual made the decision, made the choice to retrieve a weapon. And we are standing here with one person who has lost his life and two people who have been seriously injured as a result of those actions.”
Mears said Duncan wouldn’t face a gun charge. While he didn’t have a license to carry, Duncan was not required to because of the permitless carry law that went into effect on July 1, Mears said. Duncan was not otherwise prohibited from having a firearm.
Mears left the door open for charges against other individuals in the case and suggested the investigation was far from over. Anyone with additional information is urged to call IMPD at 317-327-3475.
The shooting happened around 3:30 a.m. Saturday. Simmie Poetsema, 26, was shot to death as he and two fellow soldiers returned to the Hampton Inn in the 100 block of South Meridian Street.
The soldiers were part of a Dutch military contingent that was training at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Jennings County. The shooting stemmed from a sidewalk confrontation in which someone ended up on the ground.
The initial confrontation involved nine or ten people, according to eyewitnesses. Investigators conceded they didn’t know “exactly” what led to the dispute. They do know a group exchanged words with the soldiers, leading to a fight that ended with someone on the ground.
What followed led to a chaotic scene as Duncan, in a Ford F-150, opened fire at the soldiers. Poetsema later died from his wounds.
The other two soldiers suffered significant injuries. One surviving soldier has already returned home to the Netherlands while the other was due to depart Thursday.
The complex investigation involved a combination of detective work, surveillance cameras, license plate readers and eyewitness accounts. Investigators in Indianapolis also received federal resources from the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service, Mears said.
Investigators wouldn’t have been able to solve the case without the cooperation of many people downtown who came forward with information about what they saw or heard. Businesses were quick to share surveillance video to aid the investigation.
Mears said investigators also received a high level of cooperation from the Dutch armed services and the soldiers’ families, who traveled from the Netherlands to provide critical information.
The scope of the shooting went well beyond Indianapolis.
On the international level, Dutch authorities said three detectives from the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee were dispatched to Indianapolis to help gather information. U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin expressed sympathy for Poetsema’s death and the shooting of the other two soldiers in a phone call with Netherlands Minister of Defence Kajsa Ollongren.
Dutch authorities said Poetsema was sent to Kabul, Afghanistan, to aid in last year’s evacuation. During the chaos, he and others created a new access road to the airport, allowing hundreds of Dutch citizens and Afghans to evacuate.
Commandos at Poetsema’s home base paid tribute to their fallen comrade with a moment of silence and erected a memorial, Dutch officials said.