Brownsburg, IN – An armed Good Samaritan stopped a murder-in-progress as he was driving by a cemetery on July 14.
The incident began at approximately 1:15 p.m., when 22-year-old Joshua Hayes allegedly jumped out of his vehicle near North Grant Street and 56th Street and made his way over to the Brownsburg Cemetery, The Indianapolis Star reported.
Without warning or provocation, Hayes allegedly opened fire on two cemetery workers, according to police.
Investigators said Hayes chased down one of the employees – 36-year-old Seth Robertson – then fatally shot him.
The gunman then turned his attention to the second cemetery worker, whose name has not been released, The Indianapolis Star reported.
Hayes chased the second victim through a residential area before they circled back towards the intersection where he’d parked, police said.
He allegedly continued shooting at the second victim, sending at least one bullet into vehicle that happened to have pulled up at the stop light, The Indianapolis Star reported.
The driver of the vehicle saw Hayes chasing after the second victim and managed to jump out of his vehicle just as Hayes pointed his gun at the second victim’s head, according to police.
“The scenario was fairly clear to him in that the one person was chasing the other and the other was saying, ‘no, no, no, no please don’t shoot me, please don’t shoot me,’” the driver’s attorney, Guy Relford, told WIBC. “And my client, under incredibly stressful circumstances took aim, took his shot [and] hit the gunman.”
Hayes was still holding his gun when he scrambled back to his feet, so the driver fired more bullets at him, Relford said.
Hayes died of his gunshot wounds at the scene, The Indianapolis Star reported.
The driver, whose name has not been released, suffered unspecified injuries, according to the Pharos Tribune.
Police said that the legal gun owner’s use of force was justified.
“[The driver] realized that Victim 2 was fighting for his life and that’s when [the driver] engaged,” Brownsburg Police Department (BPD) Captain Jennifer Pyatt-Barrett told the Pharos Tribune.
“[A person] can indeed intervene when they see the potential for another life being taken,” Capt. Pyatt-Barrett explained. “[The driver] stepped in because not only did he see that, at that point, Mr. Hayes had Victim 2 on the ground and was pointing the gun at his head preparing to fire again. That’s when [the driver] decided that he had to stop Mr. Hayes.”
The driver is not expected to face any charges.
“At this point…based on our law enforcement investigation, the only criminal actions that we found had been committed were at the hands of Mr. Hayes,” Capt. Pyatt-Barrett told the Pharos Tribune.
Investigators said they have not found any evidence linking Hayes to either of the cemetery workers, and noted that the attack appears to have been random.
Although Hayes was black and the men he attacked were white, the BPD said that Hayes did not target them due to their race.
“At this point in time in the investigation, we have no reason to believe this was a racially-motivated crime,” Capt. Pyatt-Barrett told the Pharos Tribune. “We’re leaning more toward evidence suggesting there was mental illness on behalf of Mr. Hayes.”
Relford said that the gunman’s killing spree likely would have continued if his client had not intervened.
“There’s no question he saved at least one innocent life and perhaps multiple,” Relford said, according to The Indianapolis Star. “Police said [Hayes] had a drum-style magazine in his handgun that still had a couple of dozen rounds in it…Who knows how much mayhem could have resulted if my client hadn’t been the brave hero and good Samaritan that he was.”