Indiana man charged with murder in Dutch soldiers’ shooting

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A 22-year-old Indiana man was charged Thursday with murder in the fatal shooting of a Dutch soldier and the wounding of two others in downtown Indianapolis.

Shamar Duncan was charged with murder, two counts of attempted murder and disorderly conduct in the shootings early Saturday, Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said.

The soldiers had been training at a southern Indiana military camp and were on a night off in Indianapolis when they clashed with Duncan and his friends, according to an arrest affidavit. The affidavit also says Duncan told one of his friends that he opened fire on the soldiers because he “just spazzed.”

The soldier who was killed has been identified as Simmie Poetsema, a 26-year-old member of the Dutch Commando Corps.

One of the wounded soldiers has returned to the Netherlands and the other is expected to return Thursday, Deputy Police Chief Kendale Adams said, adding that both are expected to make a full recovery,

Mears and Adams also said they were in contact with Dutch investigators who are in Indianapolis conducting an independent inquiry into the shooting.

“We’ve been in constant contact with them in terms of what they need,” Adams said. “That will continue to go forward even after today.”

Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren expressed concern about gun violence in the United States after the shooting.

“We do many trainings of our servicemen in the United States, and we really don’t expect this to happen. So it’s very, very concerning for us.” Ollongren told The Associated Press Tuesday at a meeting of European Union defense ministers in Prague.

During a court hearing Thursday, a judge ordered Duncan to remain jailed without bond and entered an automatic not guilty plea on his behalf. The Indianapolis resident has been in custody since his arrest on Tuesday.

Duncan’s lawyers said they are reviewing the allegations.

“Always remember, there are two sides to a story,” defense attorney KiKi Gaither told The Associated Press. “Clearly things got out of control. And it all comes down to, you know, who you believe.”

According to the affidavit, soldiers told investigators they were walking back to their hotel from a bar when Duncan and his friends bumped into them. Witnesses told police that the soldiers tried to defuse the situation but that a brief fight broke out before the gunshots were fired from a passing pickup truck.

Adams called the shootings disgusting and tragic.

“Today’s announcement sends a clear message that if you irresponsibly discharge a firearm and injure or kill someone, it’s not acceptable,” Adams said.

Mears said Duncan has no criminal convictions that would make it illegal for him to carry a gun in Indiana and that others who were with him at the time could still face criminal charges.

“I hope no one interprets this as the end of the investigation or that other additional charges against other individuals will not be filed in the future,” Mears said. “We are continuing to evaluate everybody’s conduct involved.”

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Arleigh Rodgers is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/arleighrodgers

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