‘They took my heart away from me’ | 16-year-old Whiteland student dead after Greenwood shooting, suspect arrested

Police believe the victim was targeted and shot multiple times at a neighborhood bus stop.
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 9:49 PM EDT
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GREENWOOD, Ind. (WTHR) - Police have arrested a suspect after a Whiteland Community High School student was shot and killed while waiting for a school bus in Greenwood Thursday morning.

Police say 18-year-old suspect targeted 16-year-old victim as he waited for school bus Thursday...
Police say 18-year-old suspect targeted 16-year-old victim as he waited for school bus Thursday morning.(WTHR)

Police said Thursday evening they had arrested 18-year-old Tyrique Sevin Radford El on a preliminary charge of murder. A final charging decision will be made by the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office.

Deputies responded to a report of shots fired near Winterwood and Providence drives, which is near U.S. 31 and East Worthsville Road, shortly before 7 a.m.

Greenwood Assistant Chief of Police Matt Fillenwarth confirmed the victim was a 16-year-old boy, who was a sophomore at Whiteland and recently transferred to the school district.

The family identified the victim to 13News as Temario Stokes Jr. His mother, Tiera Ervin Montgomery said he was her “baby.”

“I just cooked last night and made him a pot of greens and I’m thinking my baby was going to return home and he didn’t even get to make it to school,” she said.

Ervin Montgomery said she was at home when the shooting happened and that Stokes’ younger brother was also walking to the bus stop at the time.

“When I heard the shots, I ran outside and seen my son laying on the ground shot multiple times,” Montgomery said.

Police believe the shooting was targeted and the victim was shot multiple times. Fillenwarth said the victim was waiting for the school bus with several other people when the suspect approached the him. Those witnesses ran before the victim was shot, and the suspect left the scene on foot.

Johnson County Sheriff Duane Burgess told 13News multiple agencies responded to search for a suspect. An Indiana State Police helicopter and ATF K-9 were among the search efforts.

Montgomery described her son as kind, giving and someone who loved his family. He was also an older brother to his two siblings.

“My baby was a sweet person. My baby was an outgoing person. My baby would give the people the shirt off his back,” Montgomery said. “They took my heart away from me.”

She said her family just moved to the area in April.

“The only thing I got to say to the suspect is you didn’t have to do my baby like that. You took my heart right out of my chest, and I hope you find peace within yourself,” Montgomery said.

Stokes’ father said his son wanted to start a landscaping company and kept asking for a lawnmower.

“He wasn’t a bad kid. All kids make bad decisions at one time, but he wasn’t a bad kid. He doesn’t deserve this,” said Temario Stokes Sr.

The family is asking for support and prayers at this time.

“To the people who did love my son, thanks for loving him. Thanks for being in his life and continue to pray for me and my family,” Montgomery said.

A spokesperson with Greenwood Community Schools said their schools were initially placed on lockdown out of precaution.

In a statement, Clark-Pleasant Community School Corp. Superintendent Dr. Patrick Spray expressed condolences to the family and friends of the victim. Spray also stated that extra officers have been brought into the district’s school buildings and counselors will be on hand to help students deal with the incident.

A news conference with the Greenwood Police chief and Whiteland Schools superintendent will be held at 11 a.m. Friday. 13News will stream the update on all its digital platforms.

Full school statement:

It is a sad day for The Clark-Pleasant school community. It is with a heavy heart that we report that one of our high school students has died after being shot near his bus stop earlier this morning, near US 31 and Worthsville Road. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends and also to his classmates and teachers at Whiteland Community High School.

Greenwood Police are handling the investigation, interviewing witnesses and searching for the suspect near the scene. Clark-Pleasant Police Department is securing all of our school buildings today and extra officers have been brought in to assist.

Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation will bring in additional mental health/grief counselors to help students deal with this tragic incident as needed. We will have more information on the investigation as we get it.

Dr. Patrick SpraySuperintendentClark-Pleasant Community School Corp.