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Sunday, 20 July 2008

Derek Matthews has confessed to firing the pellets that struck two photographers

Police said a man has confessed to firing the pellets that struck two photographers, including a WISH-TV photographer, and a firefighter's air tank. The shooting happened at the scene of a massive fire on the northeast side early Friday morning. Police have arrested 30-year-old Derek Matthews.IMPD Chief Michael Spears called a press conference Friday afternoon regarding the overnight shooting.Police and firefighters should not have to worry about some deranged citizen using force against them, Spears said.Police originally believed a .22 caliber gun was used in the shooting but retracted that information after further investigation. They have since recovered the pellet gun Matthews allegedly used.
Following the shooting, police focused their search across the street from the fire at 838 Tacoma where Matthews and a woman were staying. Police said the woman had nothing to do with the incident.A detective said Matthews spoke with WISH-TV photographer Kevin Hankins, who was eventually shot, prior to the shooting.
"He was like 'Stuff happened over by my house on this street a couple of weeks ago. You guys should've came here...You're on my sidewalk.'...I'm like 'It's a public street. I'm sorry, I need to do my job.'," said Hankins. "I just walked away from him and never saw him again."Police told 24-Hour News 8 that Matthews is a registered sex offender in Marion County who has a history of failing to register along with drug and battery arrests. The shooting happened as firefighters were battling a fire at 833 N. Tacoma Ave. just after 2 a.m. Friday. No one was inside the vacant home.As firefighters worked to put out the fire, police say someone fired shots at several people. One shot hit a firefighter's breathing tank."Firefighters arrived and started addressing the fire and during the incident, people around the scene, a group of people just to the west in the alley. We believe possibly in that area there, someone fired some type of weapon at individuals who were on the scene," said Sgt. Paul Thompson with IMPD.Other shots wounded two photographers, including WISH-TV's Kevin Hankins.
"I was just gathering shots around the scene and then all of sudden heard a pop and felt something on my left back. And then the medic behind me, you don't got to be so jumpy. I said I just got hit by something. And I lifted up my shirt and he said you're bleeding and were shot by something," said Hankins.Both photographers were taken to Methodist Hospital. Hankins has since been released. The other person was freelance photographer Todd Parker, who was doing work for a township fire department. He was not severely hurt. Police say he was struck in the arm.



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