Together through tragedy

Community comes together after two shootings occur on the Southside on July 17

By Nicole Davis

Two separate shootings on Sunday, July 17 have resulted in multiple deaths and left the Southside community in shock and in mourning. A mass shooting at Greenwood Park Mall left four deceased, including the shooter. An unrelated shooting in Beech Grove left one more deceased. For many Southside residents, it was hard to turn away from the news or from social media, while awaiting news and offering prayers and condolences.


The Greenwood Police Department released in a press conference on July 18 that Jonathan Douglas Sapirman, a 20-year-old from Greenwood, walked to the mall, entered through the doors next to the food court and then into the nearest bathroom. An hour later, he came out and began shooting into the mall’s food court. He struck five people, killing three: Victor Gomez, Pedro Pineda and his wife, Rosa Mirian Rivera de Pineda, all of Indianapolis.

Within minutes, Elisjsha Dicken of Seymour, Ind., who Greenwood officials call the “good Samaritan,” shot back at Sapirman, striking him. Sapirman is among the four deceased in this incident.

“I will say his actions were nothing short of heroic,” Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison said of Dicken. “He engaged the gunman from quite a distance with a handgun. He was very proficient in that, very tactically sound. As he moved to close in on the suspect, he was also motioning for people to exit behind him.”

It didn’t take long before the Southside community – plus all of Indiana and the nation – began to voice their sympathies and prayers for all of those impacted by the shooting.

“This violence has hit at the heart of our community,” wrote Aspire Economic Development + Chamber Alliance in an email sent to its members. “We join our fellow neighbors in prayer for all the families and first responders impacted by this senseless act of violence.”

Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison shares details of the July 17 shooting at Greenwood Park Mall during a press conference on July 18, shared live on Facebook. (Image by city of Greenwood)

A large number of people on social media outlets also voiced their support for Dicken.

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb stated, “I join all Hoosiers in being grateful for the quick, heroic actions taken by an individual citizen and first responders on Sunday evening in Greenwood, surely preventing further loss of life and injuries. I stand with the community in grieving the loss of lives, and my thoughts are also with the many people impacted by this traumatic incident, including innocent bystanders whose lives are forever changed.”

Beech Grove

Shortly after the shooting in Greenwood, a shooting broke out at Don Challis Park in Beech Grove. Police were called at approximately 9:30 p.m. and found four people had been shot. One person died at the scene. The other three are in stable condition at this time.

The shooting occurred during a vigil at the park. At press time, the police were still looking for two to three suspects who drove away in a white, newer-model Toyota Camry.

Anyone with information about the shooting should contact the department at (317) 782-4936, or leave anonymous tips with Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at (317) 262-8477.

This incident comes just two weeks prior to a planned Peace Walk on July 30. Those interested in joining the Mayor’s Faith Based Roundtable for a walk in Sarah T. Bolton Park at the Franciscan Trail Head to support peace in the streets can join at 10 a.m.