Sunday, July 22, 2007

Shots Fired At Black Expo

A woman fleeing police and firing a gun into the air set off a stampede that injured by-standers and at least one police officer during last night's Black Expo celebration in Downtown Indianapolis. The shooting took place at the same location where a shooting occurred at last year's event--Illinois and Maryland. WTHR reports:

Shots fired downtown and screams as by-standers run for cover.

The people fled after the sound of gunshots rang out just before 1:00 a-m in the area of Maryland and Illinois. A large crowd was still downtown because of the Black Expo events.

Police say a woman was attempting to get rid of a handgun, and when officers noticed, she took off running.

"As the officers approached, the person with the firearm fled from officers and while she was running from officers, started firing shots in the air," said Sgt Paul Thompson of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. "According to the police who tried to apprehend her, they thought she was trying to spread the crowd out to facilitate her escape but she ran right in the command center were she was tazed and taken into custody."

In all the commotion, the fleeing crowd ran down two by-standers and one officer was slightly injured. They were treated at the scene.

Abdul Hakim-Shabazz writes his own disappointing account of last night's activities in a post entitled "If MLK were alive, he would have shot himself." A friend of mine complained last night about being harrassed while trying to get into Circle Centre Mall to watch a movie at 7:00 p.m. Another person who works in the mall complained about people pounding on the hood of his car as he tried to exit a parking garage. This kind of stuff can't be allowed to continue. Organizers of this event need to work with the city to keep away the element that is otherwise marring a worthwhile event.


Anonymous said...

These events are sad, but I was downtown last night, too, and it's clear the IBE organizers worked with police on one major aspect; kids.

For some unGodly reason, folks let their underage kids run loose after curfew time, to "see and be seen", especially downtown during Expo. Well, that's history. Last night, they rounded up a douple dozen kids, and there were many fewer than in past years. I know that was a major push by IBE folks, after last year's fiasco. A 100% improvement in that category.

Now if the adults can quit acting like kids, we might be onto something.

And thank God there weren't as many kids on the streets last night as at past Expos, or there would've been lots of injury and perhaps worse.

Not all of these people are going to Expo events. But there seems to be a magnet effect, and the peripheral activities, such as they are, draw thousands.

I'm impressed by the effort made by BE and the city regarding the kids.

Wilson46201 said...

For many years, the 500 Mile Race was notorious for obstreperous behavior (the "Snake Pit") and the county jail was overflowing with drunks that weekend...

Anonymous said...

Give me a break! IBE is not responsible for an individuals actions on the street. How do you know that some of the fools walking around downtown attended any of their events.

Tell that to all of the drunks I have seen in downtown during the NCAA, Colts and Pacer games and other major events, that go un reported by the media. For those posters who happen to be anti-black, we live here and pay taxes to. For all of the white freaks running around in the winter time painted blue and white scare the hell out me.

Anonymous said...

At what point does this City find the courage to say "no more?" Atlanta already banned a similar event due to similar, on-going occurances. Could it be that the white administration of this city is too afraid to do what the black administration of Atlanta knew was right?

Meanwhile, I'd like to see a real financial impact analysis of this event. I work downtown and was really surprised to see the stepped up law enforcement - both city and private, both on the streets and in business establishments - starting around mid-week. This was not a usual level of presence. And it was much, much more than you see 3 or 4 days prior to a racing event, a Final Four, a football game or any other major event downtown.

Just how much do we spend on an event that leaves this City every year with headlines about shootings and curfew violations? Sure, the indoor events seem like good stuff. But those kinds of events occur all the time without the other crap that regularly accompanies this event.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The problems at the IMS were largely limited to the track itself and 16th Street and Georgetown Road by the Speedway. The Hulman family, to their credit, completely revamped things in the infield to make it family friendly and to cut down on the general admission tickets, which allowed people to come to the infield to get drunk and never watch the race. Arrests associated with the event have dropped dramatically over the years. I also can't recall any shootings taking place at the IMS. Most of the arrests are for public intoxication.

Anonymous said...

aa female: Perhaps you are just turning a blind eye...

Let me open your eyes: Does this happen every weekend or on Expo weekend?

Anonymous said...

Wilson: you (as always) are way off the topic! Check the arrests for the largest spectator event in the world, and it doesn't compare to this weekend!

Oh, I do NOT recall gunfire being a problem at the largest spectator event in the world.

Come back to reality!

Anonymous said...

The biggest embarrassment was Chief of Police Michael Spears. As was captured by WTHR, Spears at some point dropped his gun and left it laying on the sidewalk as people ran past and over it.

One of the people being chased or some other "bad guy" could have easily picked up the gun and killed innocent people. Here are some screen captures taken from

The gun is circled here:

Spears turns back to go get his gun:

Spears picking up his gun:

Spears walks away weakly holding the gun in his hand, where it continues to pose a danger from anyone who would try to take it from him. I have no idea why he didn't holster the gun as soon as he retrieved it:

You'll have to highlight the links, and copy and paste the addresses to see the pictures. I've also put tinyurl links to the photos in case anyone has trouble accessing the direct links. You can view the video for yourself at

This is inexcusable. The Chief of Police put numerous citizens' and police officers' lives at risk because he somehow couldn't hold on to his gun.

Anonymous said...

"Wilson: you (as always) are way off the topic!"

Poor Wilson, he can't help himself.
Years of self abuse have rendered him senile.
Orange hair die has leaked into his brain, destroying the few vital brain cells remaining.
Poor Wilson, so sad.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I viewed the same video and came away with a different interpretation. It appeared to me that the gun on the ground was dropped by the woman who fired it and was fleeing from police. I don't think it was Spears' gun, but I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...


The gun fired by the woman was a revolver. In the video, an evidence tech can be seen collecting shell casings from the cylinder and placing them in an envelope. The gun that Spears picked up was a semi-automatic.

A few officers on IndyU were already talking about how Spears dropped his gun before the video was uploaded by WTHR.

Anonymous said...

The gun removed from the Woman was a revolver. The gun on the ground appeared to be a semi auto, same as police officers carry. Chief Spears retrieved the handgun and placed it in his holster. Seem pretty cut and dried to me.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I stand corrected then. He didn't pick it up in a manner that suggested it was his own gun. He picked it up and carried it like he thought it was evidence, or someone like me who just happened to stumble on to it on the street. I don't know why he didn't holster it, unless he realized it was being captured on camera and didn't want people to think it was his gun he was picking up.

Anonymous said...

"Chief Spears retrieved the handgun and placed it in his holster."

A friend who was there told me that the Chief inspected the gun and placed it in his holster. Something I would do if I dropped my handgun. Checking for damage is the first thing a gun owner would do.

Doug said...

That makes me kind of sad that Black Expo is having trouble. My wife and I got married on Black Expo weekend in 2000 (July 15) and the people we came across who were involved with the event were just delightful to us. I felt like it added a level of positive energy to our wedding and reception.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see black expo banned from indianapolis along with wilson!

The Amazing Abdul said...

90 percent of Expo is fine. The problem is those kids and the parents who let them run free. I saw it up close and personal when I worked the door at Nicki Blaines.

The city had maxed out on curfew arrests last night and stopped. Something needs to be done.

There is no reason why a worthwhile event should be spoiled by Hot Ghetto Mess!

Anonymous said...

Did this shooting take place before or after the IBE sponsored National Pit Bull Dog Fighting Championship?

Wilson46201 said...

This posting today sure brought out the inherent racism in some folk here! Of course, true to form, they donned their white hoods of anonymity before commenting! Disgusting!

Anonymous said...

Right, and ripping on racing fans isn't prejudiced at all...maybe clean your own house first, Wilson.

Anonymous said...

"For many years, the 500 Mile Race was notorious for obstreperous behavior (the "Snake Pit") and the county jail was overflowing with drunks that weekend..."

How many people were ever shot (and even killed) at the Snake Pit? How about at the 500 itself?

IBE is not responsible for an individuals actions on the street. How do you know that some of the fools walking around downtown attended any of their events.

While they are not responsible, they don't help. Any sort of complaints will get one painted as a racist. I have heard, and would love confirmation, that hotels do not raise their rates during this event for similar fears. If this is true, that is plain wrong. If they don't raise their rates at all for IBE, then maybe the city needs to force them to follow similar practices for other events? Another issue was the IndyGo bus service. In years past, IndyGo ran later than normal. This was a big reason why so many unsupervised kids were at the event. Poor parents using IBE as a free babysitter for the weekend. I am not sure if this was the case this year, maybe they woke up after five people shot? This year they had a drop off/pick-up area, so maybe they got rid of the free extended bus service. My guess is that they complained about tickets and towed vehicles in past years because those folks were likely people spending money, not the thugs. My guess is that they will say nothing about the curfew violations because they don't want to have to explain themselves when five people shot (like last year) ends up being five people dead.

As far as the gun, I never saw the video showing he holstered it. Maybe he did that later, but can we for sure say it was _his_ gun. Maybe Spears is a gun guy, that would likely explain the additional $80+ tac light on the gun. From what I saw, he went back to get a gun. Also, he had his right hand on his holster, so why would he carry it in his left? Wouldn't he have picked it up with his right hand, inspect it, then holster it? I would really like to see more evidence or at least hear from more witnesses before slamming the Chief. The photos at Indy Undercover are inconclusive.

This posting today sure brought out the inherent racism in some folk here! Of course, true to form, they donned their white hoods of anonymity before commenting! Disgusting!

In other words, you tried to paint IBE Summer Celebration as any other event in the city. When folks called you out, asking for statistics on the number of folks shot at events like Gen Con, Formula One, Fire Fighters convention, Indy 500, etc. you could not provide any. So in true liberal form, you play your race card. Typical, worn out, and old. Next!

Wilson46201 said...

I was specifically referring to the obviously racist and bullshit comment at 12:29pm about IBE sponsoring dogfighting. It's curious that others then attack me but allow that comment at 12:29pm to pass unremarked ... but isn't that par for you Republicans?

Anonymous said...

Ok, back on the SUBJECT...

The past several years have always had some event occur during the evening hours of IBE which is why I do not even bother going anywhere near downtown. No way am I going to get caught in the crossfire or by a stray bullet.

Anonymous said...

-I thought Wilson was banned.

Anonymous said...

This "gangsta" mentality is rapidly destroying all the rights Blacks have fought for over the last 50 years. a growing number of the youth of today have only one thing - to do what they want at the expense of everyone else. That is why over 50% of our Black students in most of the major cities in America will not graduate high school. This is about the same it was in the 1930s!

Anonymous said...

The Indyu guys are saying that the gun was a taser. That would look like a semi-auto. Maybe we need to with hold judgment until the facts are in.
We may all be wrong.

Anonymous said...

7:22, you are dillusional: IndyU NEVER withholds judgment. Just rants and raves. I used to read it for balance and to add to my blog/newspaper AM list. Not any more. It's hateful and single-issue.

Also, my LEO friends tell me, it's often the same 3-5 LEOs who are malcontents anyway.

Some people just love to bitch and moan. It's sport to them, regardless who's mayor, sheriff, or president.

Blogs give them unfettered access to large numbers of people. But blogs don't give them credibility.

Anonymous said...

Wilson, I think the point 12:29 was making is that there is obviously something wrong with today's black culture that glorifies such activites as dogfighing with pit bulls. Like it or not, many of us in the black community are fed up with image that is being sold to entire American public by those in our own black community.
If 12:29's sarcasm hit a nerve with you then it's YOU who does not understand the problem, not him.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Bill Cosby and Juan Williams should be invited to town to start a constructive dialog about personal responsibility and what it takes to get ahead.

Bill Cosby's "Pound Cake" speech at NAACP' on the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education

Juan William' book "Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America -- and What We Can Do About It."

Anonymous said...

Off topic but here goes anyway.

I was at Animal Control looking for my son's missing dog. Of the 150 -200 dogs in the kennels, 60% were pit bulls. Animal Control will not adopt out Pit Bulls. This is an epidemic on Indianapolis. I would guess that 40% of the pit bulls had scarring from being in fights. Very heart breaking to know that those dogs were abused and that all will be put down including puppies.

Anonymous said...

I tried to get volunteers to work the Fair Tax booth at Black Expo and not a single person offered.

Sean Shepard, one of our directors, even went on the Amos Brown show to ask for volunteers and no one volunteered to take even a two hour shift.

I have been able to coordinate volunteers for all the other projects I work on except Black Expo.

Anonymous said...

"7:22, you are dillusional: IndyU NEVER withholds judgment. Just rants and raves. I used to read it for balance and to add to my blog/newspaper AM list. Not any more. It's hateful and single-issue.

Also, my LEO friends tell me, it's often the same 3-5 LEOs who are malcontents anyway."

Sure that's why they have 400,000 hits and counting. Your friend can't be right, the numbers don't match up.

I know of 40+ people who log in daily of which 10 are LEO's.

Get your facts right. I agree its viewers post a lot of BS, just like those left threaded lug nuts at TDW. Sometimes it takes a lot of reading to get to the facts.
Thats what makes both blogs entertaining.

Lalita said...

An earlier writer was commenting on Freaknik, which was held in Atlanta.

Atlanta put the kabbosh on Freaknik, which was a gathering of primarily Black students from all over the US. While it began as a small, quiet gathering in '82 when I was a sophomore at Purdue (I had friends go to the earlier events and loved it), it quickly grew to over a quarter million souls who descended on the city for dancing, drinking, and partying. One issue with Freaknik was that people's driving sense went out the window with folks stopping their cars in traffic or driving to be seen (very slowly), which brought the city to a crawl. In addition, as with any huge gathering, opportunitistic criminals sashayed in as well. Freaknik moved to somewhere in Florida, I think, before it finally petered out.

There is no excuse for lawlessness and if IBE participants add to the public safety burden without bringing in additional dollars, they can go the way of Freaknik as well; which would be a shame given all the good works they do.