Indiana man charged with murder in Dutch soldiers’ shooting

"Courtroom Gavel" by Joe Gratz, public domain

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 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, and both are expected to make a full recovery, Deputy Police Chief Kendale Adams said.

Adams called the shootings disgusting and tragic.

“The life taken due to senseless gun violence of a hero is disgraceful and cowardly,” Adams said.

Duncan has been in custody since his Tuesday arrest.

According to the affidavit, soldiers told investigators that 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.

Mears said others who were with Duncan 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.”

An initial court hearing for Duncan was scheduled for Thursday afternoon but court records didn’t immediately list an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

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