Authorities say that a fight involving multiple juveniles that occurred near the area of Kokomo Beach Family Aquatic Center possibly led to a shooting outside the facility’s entrance on Tuesday.
The shooting — which injured a juvenile male — occurred shortly after 5 p.m., a Kokomo Police Department media release noted.
That juvenile was transported to a local hospital and then airlifted to an Indianapolis hospital. His current condition is unknown at this time.
Another juvenile male was detained inside Foster Park and later transported to Kinsey Youth Center, the release noted.
He is facing charges of dangerous possession of a firearm, a Level 5 felony, and possession of a stolen handgun, a Level 6 felony.
During the course of the investigation, police also learned from witnesses that the shooting might have been linked to a fight that had occurred earlier between at least five juveniles.
The release did not indicate whether that fight occurred on the grounds of Kokomo Beach or in nearby Foster Park, but police are currently attempting to locate those juveniles for further questioning.
Tuesday’s incident is the latest in a string of juvenile-related issues in or around the Foster Park area this year.
Back in March, police arrested two teenagers they believe were connected to fights inside the park, one of which was recorded and publicly shared throughout social media at the time.
At the time, KPD issued a statement surrounding those incidents, urging parents to be vigilant when it came to knowing where their children were and what they were doing when not in their presence.
Those previous incidents, along with Tuesday’s latest one, has also now prompted extra security around the Foster Park area, according to a statement released Tuesday evening by Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore.
“I can assure you that the safety and well-being of our citizens and employees has always been the utmost priority of this Administration and City Council,” Moore wrote in part. “While this isolated incident is currently under investigation, please rest assured that the Kokomo Police Department is conducting a thorough investigation to bring those responsible to justice, including those taken into custody this evening.
“Going forward, citizens and visitors of Kokomo should not be alarmed if they see additional KPD officers patrolling Foster Park, Kokomo Beach and our parks and trails, as we intend to show perpetrators that this type of violence will not be tolerated in our great city,” he added.
KPD also addressed the recent juvenile crime-related activity near Foster Park during a separate and lengthy media release on Wednesday morning.
In the release, police referred to Tuesday’s incident as the latest in a “disturbing trend” and reiterated that KPD will not tolerate illegal activity inside Foster Park and anywhere else in the city.
“The Kokomo Police Department has also spoken with Howard County Prosecutor Mark McCann about the recent incidents,” the release read. “We are in agreement that in moving forward, there will be zero-tolerance for any individual aiding, inducing or participating in crimes within our parks, trails or other public facilities.”
Police added that they also will continue to use all resources available to ensure the safety of citizens and will prosecute those who choose to do harm.
“These facilities are used by the citizens of this community daily and no person should fear becoming involved in an incident,” the release noted. “... We intend to show perpetrators that crime within our community will not be tolerated. In addition, we are asking anyone who witnesses a criminal act or incident to contact police immediately.”
According to a post on the city’s Facebook page, Kokomo Beach was closed Wednesday, and the timeline for its re-opening has not yet been released.
Anyone with additional information regarding Tuesday’s shooting is urged to contact Captain Mike Banush at 765-456-7278 or the KPD Hotline at 765-456-7017. You can also contact Central Indiana Crime Stoppers at 1-800-262-TIPS.