By Noah Crenshaw | Daily Journal
For The Republic
JOHNSON COUNTY — An Indianapolis man has pleaded guilty to reckless homicide for the April shooting death of his brother in Edinburgh.
Pedro C. Castillo Salmeron, 20, pled guilty Thursday to reckless homicide, a Level 5 felony, before Johnson County Superior Court 2 Judge Peter Nugent. Castillo Salmeron was charged in May after the shooting death of his brother, 14-year-old Jonathon Elliott of Edinburgh.
“The loss of Jonathon is a terrible tragedy,” Johnson County Prosecutor Lance Hamner said in a statement. “Mr. Salmeron must account for that immense loss.”
On April 29, Castillo Salmeron was playing with a handgun when it discharged at a home on the 600 block of South Pleasant Street in Edinburgh. The bullet struck Elliott, who was playing video games, in the chest. He later died at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health in Indianapolis.
As firefighters loaded Elliott — who was still alive — into an ambulance, he told police Castillo Salmeron was the person who shot him, according to court documents.
“I was playing video games and I felt something hot,” Elliott told police.
Castillo Salmeron was Elliott’s foster brother, Christina Abney, Elliott’s mother, said in a May interview. Abney and Elliott’s grandmother, Kathy White, described Elliott as a happy kid who was always willing to help others.
He was also kind to everyone he met, Abney said.
“John was always a happy, goofy little kid. Everyone he met, he told them he loved them; it didn’t matter if he knew them or not,” she said. “He loved everybody and wanted to help everybody. That’s just how he was.”
Abney heard about the shooting from her son David Brandenburg, who also spoke to police about the incident.
“(Elliott) was sitting on the couch with David playing video games. David said Pedro was messing with a gun and (David) didn’t even know what happened. He heard a pop and John hit the floor,” Abney said.
There were three other children in the house at the time of the shooting, but they were unharmed. Brandenburg told Castillo Salmeron to call for help but the gunman said he couldn’t get the call to go through. Brandenburg then called the owner of the house to tell him about the shooting, followed by 911, according to the affidavit.
After Brandenburg told him he was calling an ambulance, Castillo Salmeron fled the scene and hid the gun. He eventually came back to the house, which is where Edinburgh police apprehended him, the affidavit says.
Edinburgh Police’s investigation concluded that Salmeron’s actions were not intentional but were reckless. His sentence will largely be determined by the court, and prosecutors will be arguing for an aggravated sentence and prison time, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Brandon Robinson said in a statement.
Salmeron’s sentencing hearing is set for Oct. 5.