Police continue investigating homicide

What started with two teens bickering led to a tragic incident that left a Whiteland Community High School student dead and changed two families’ lives forever, police said.

Police are investigating, but haven’t found that Isaac Stinemetz, 18, intended to kill 16-year-old Zachary Edwards. Stinemetz said he didn’t know the gun was loaded, and two other teens in the car at the time of the shooting have backed up his story, police said.

Edwards and Stinemetz had known each other at least a couple years and had hung out together before, family members told police. An argument had started before the shooting. The two other teens in the car, ages 15 and 16, who are also Whiteland Community High School students, told police they didn’t remember what the argument was about, but it wasn’t serious, Greenwood Police Assistant Chief Matt Fillenwarth said.

While waiting in a car for another teen to come outside of a home in the 2000 block of Jaden Lane in the Pebble Creek neighborhood, Stinemetz pointed the gun at Edwards and pulled the trigger.

After Edwards was shot, the three other teens inside the car, including Stinemetz, panicked and ran.

No one called police until another resident inside the home wondered about a car parked outside, police said.

“This is just tragic all around,” Fillenwarth said.

“In the blink of an eye, a lot of lives got changed.”

Stinemetz told police he didn’t think the gun was loaded, and statements from the other two teens in the car have supported that story, Fillenwarth said. Police are not sure where Stinemetz got the gun. He did not have a permit to carry a gun, and state law does not allow anyone under the age of 21 to buy a gun, Fillenwarth said.

After Stinemetz and the two other teens ran, the resident they were waiting on came outside, saw Edwards dead in the vehicle, took a picture and posted it to a social media site, Fillenwarth said. None of the teens called 911, he said. Police found Edwards’ body when they came to check out a suspicious vehicle that had been called in by another resident.

The picture has been sent around to other students since then, prompting Fillenwarth to warn Edwards’ family members about it, he said.

The 15- and 16-year-old came to the police station after the shooting with their parents, and told police they saw the shooting and that Stinemetz had pulled the trigger.

Officers found Stinemetz at his Greenwood home. They also knew the car that Edwards was found in belonged to Stinemetz and his mother, Fillenwarth said.

Stinemetz was arrested on a charge of reckless homicide. If convicted, the sentence for the felony crime could range from one to six years in prison.

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Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at agoeller@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2718.