‘Pretty quiet neighborhood’ reacts to Amber Alert, double shooting

The children at the center of an Amber Alert on Aug. 16, 2017, were found on the west side of Indianapolis. (WISH Image)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The children at the center of an Amber Alert on Wednesday morning were found on the west side of Indianapolis.

Police found them in the neighborhood of Warman Avenue. Brownsburg police did not say what information led them to find the children ages 2, 5 and 8 in that neighborhood and under what circumstances.

24-Hour News 8 learned the family’s last known address is near Bertha Street and Warman Avenue.

“Pretty quiet neighborhood, you know. We have typical west side stuff that, I guess, were used to it over the years,” said Michael Thatcher, who lives in the family’s neighborhood. “But don’t see much like the violence that we seen last night.”

Police found the children safe and unharmed, and it happened around the same time Indiana State Police issued an alert for their abduction. An Amber Alert was issued around 11:45 a.m. for the three children believed to be in extreme danger.

“I was actually at work when the Amber Alert went off and, of course, I was at work this afternoon when they released the footage and said they had arrested him and said the kids were OK,” he said.

Thatcher is also a pastor at a local church and recognized one of the boys in the picture provided by police.

“One of the kids was at our VBS (vacation Bible school), and it’s kind of surprising, but it was good news this afternoon when we heard they were all safe and in custody,” he said.

Police said the children’s father identified as 25-year-old Christhian Garcia became a suspect in a Tuesday night shooting outside the HomeGoods Distribution Center in Brownsburg that injured the children’s mother and killed another man. Police said the mother is awake and alert. Both were shot multiple times, according to Brownsburg police.

“We don’t want to hear about anybody getting hurt or anything, but thank God we got a report today that she (children’s mother) was fine going to be OK, especially for the kids,” Thatcher said. “With what’s going on, with their father, you know, don’t need two parents missing out of the family realm.”

The cancellation for the Amber Alert came at 12:48 p.m., less than an hour after its issuance. But the process to initiate an alert requires information from local agencies and it has to meet specific criteria. 24-Hour News 8 learned some of the criteria are specific:

  • Are the children younger than 18?
  • Are they believed to be in extreme danger?
  • What are the descriptions of the suspect, the children and the vehicle involved?

“We encourage the agency to call us as soon as possible because if it meets the criteria,” said 1st Sgt. Shea Reliford of Indiana State Police, “time is the enemy. So the sooner we can put the Amber Alert out, the better for the safe recovery of the children.”

Reliford said, once state police received the request, they begin the process to verify the information within an hour before pushing it out to the public.

“Sometimes agencies may request an Amber Alert, but it may not actually meet the criteria, but we are still offering resources through the clearinghouse through the state police to assist agencies in finding any missing persons,” he said.

Even though every circumstance is different, state police said the goal is the same.

“Our No. 1 goal is bringing the children home safe and, so please, believe that even though you may not have received an Amber Alert at the time that you’re looking for one, everything possible is being done to help find those children,” he said.

State police couldn’t comment on Wednesday’s Amber Alert involving the three children.

According to data provided by state police, so far this year they received 10 requests for Amber Alerts and issued seven. Last year, a total of 179 Amber Alerts were issued across the country.

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