The gunfight that killed 22-year-old Larretha “Lala” Draughon and injured five others started as an old-fashioned rumble with a modern twist.
Indianapolis’ interim police chief told The Indianapolis Star on Thursday that investigators believe the shooting at Ben Davis Park on Tuesday grew out of a social media-fueled feud that had played out between two rival groups of women on Twitter and Facebook.
Interim Chief Rick Hite would not say what the feud was about, but it escalated to the point that a fight at approximately midnight was arranged on social media. Hite said it’s not clear whether the women from the rival groups had ever actually met each other.
Hite also said the arranged throwdown was supposed to be just a fistfight — and investigators aren’t certain that any of the women were even armed.
The fight, he said, was not gang-related.
“They’re groups,” Hite said, “but not gangs.
“What we have is a bunch of grown women, who should have known better, acting like 17-year-olds. Who that age says, ‘Let’s meet at the schoolyard at midnight for a fight’?
“Women talking trash on Twitter like they’re teenagers, never meeting their rival face-to-face. They talk themselves into a corner, so when they do meet, ? there is no room for a peaceful resolution. It has to end one way.”
Draughon, a former Indiana All-Star basketball player at Northwest High School, was found dead in a parked car a couple of miles from Ben Davis Park. She had been shot in the chest.
Three other women — Takia Rice, 21; Sanasha Brewer, 20; and Jasmine Jennings, 20 — were shot, as well as two men, Trey Bebley, 25, and Tyrone Mills, 20. Their conditions have not been disclosed, though at least two of them have been released from the hospital.
Hite said investigators don’t think the men were involved in planning the brawl but said, “Where you got women, you’re going to have men.”
He said police recovered at least one gun and have conducted several interviews. He said investigators are making progress, though no arrests have been made.
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