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Teen suspect charged as adult with 6 counts of murder in connection with Indianapolis mass shooting

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Posted at 11:40 AM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 17:07:33-05

INDIANAPOLIS — New details released Thursday regarding a mass shooting in Indianapolis earlier this week alleges that the teen suspect shot and killed four members of his family, his brother's girlfriend, who was pregnant at the time.

The Marion County Prosecutor's Office has formally charged 17-year-old Raymond Ronald Lee Childs III with six counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and carrying a handgun without a license.

Probable cause documents released Thursday describes portions of the shooting, which occurred early Sunday morning. According to a 15-year-old who survived the shooting, Childs had gotten into an argument with his father because he had left home without permission and was told that he would be in trouble "later."

The probable cause report details the 15-year-old's account of the shooting, which included the witness being shot while he was running from the home.

The surviving teen suffered multiple gunshot wounds but was able to run to a nearby home where they called for help, according to the probable cause.

After rushing the teen to the hospital, police located five bodies inside the home on Adams Street.

The Marion County Coroner identified those victims as Rita Childs, 13, Elijah Childs, 18, Kezzie and Raymond Childs' Jr., both 42 and Kiara Hawkins, 19.

Hawkins, who was several months pregnant at the time of the shooting, was rushed to the hospital. Neither she nor her child survived.

"As a result of the gunshot wounds she sustained, her baby also lost his life," prosecutor Ryan Mears said.

Detectives believe two firearms were used during the shooting. Mears said a 9mm handgun was found at the scene and a Draco firearm was located when Childs was arrested. Investigators are still working to confirm ballistics and how both weapons were used.

Mears says the initial investigation indicates that both firearms used in the shooting were owned by the family.

Although Childs is still considered a juvenile at the age of 17, Indiana law states that anyone 16 or 17-year-old must still be filed in adult court, Mears said during his press conference Thursday.

Because Childs is 17, he is not eligible for the death penalty, but Mears says he can be charged with life without parole due to the statutory aggregators in this case, which include multiple victims and the unborn child who lost his life.

Based on the possible charges, Mears said Childs faces a sentence between 45 years to life in prison without parole.

"There's never going to be a reason to justify what happened. There's not anything that anybody's going to be able to say or you're going to say well that explains the loss of six lives," Mears said. "I think that's part of the equation. The other part of it is, we've lost enough. Enough families have experienced enough pain over issues that don't need to be settled with guns. In particular when you have people who are young, who are not mature, who are not responsible, and they have access to firearms. They see that as an easy way to resolve their disputes. And there has to be something in place to, number one, help people resolve problems outside of that, but number two, why do we have so many guns in the hands of kids who are 17 years old.”

Watch Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears discuss the case below:

This story was originally published by Katie Cox on WRTV in Indianapolis.