I-65 road rage shooting: Witnesses say I-65 shooting resulted in death of ‘an innocent man’


INDIANAPOLIS — The suspect in a fatal road rage shooting on Indianapolis’ southside told police he didn’t mean to do it and was trying to defend himself and the vehicle’s occupants, court documents show.

Andre Briski, 24, of Indianapolis, was charged Thursday with murder in the death of 35-year-old Ryan Hawkins. Shawna Rowland, 23, of Greenwood, is charged with assisting a criminal, a Level 5 felony, and obstruction of justice, a Level 6 felony.

WISH-TV, a newsgathering partner of The Republic, has reported that Hawkins was deaf and his family believes Hawkins was trying to get away from the other car when the shooting occurred.

“This is a tragic example of an unacceptable escalation of violence on our roadways,” said Ryan Mears, Marion County prosecutor, in a written statement. “We will not tolerate those who chose to make split-second decisions involving firearms that threaten the safety of those around them and, in this case, result in such a senseless loss of life.”

Just after 1 p.m. on May 1, Indiana State Police dispatchers started receiving calls about a possible road rage incident that involved gunfire on Interstate 65 near the 101.2-mile marker, just north of the County Line Road exit. Nearly simultaneously, they received information about a serious vehicle crash on I-65 northbound between Stop 11 Road and Emerson Avenue in Indianapolis, also north of the County Line Road exit. A car left the roadway and went into a drainage pond, state police said.

First responders came on the scene very quickly, finding an unresponsive adult male — identified as Hawkins — in the grass outside of the pond. Divers determined there were no other people in the vehicle, which had sunk into the water. He was ejected from the vehicle before it went into the pond, and was pronounced dead at the scene from a gunshot wound to the neck, police said.

Court documents filed Thursday reveal more about what led up to the shooting, how one of the suspects turned themselves in and several connections to Johnson County.

Briski and Rowland were inside a car with two other people at the time of the shooting. ISP detectives spoke with the two people, who said Briski fired the shots, according to court documents.

Both people told detectives Briski was driving on I-65 northbound after a trip to Franklin when a car, allegedly driven by Hawkins, was following too closely. The driver of the other car gave hand gestures toward the suspect before speeding off, court documents show.

Rowland allegedly told the Briski to speed up and follow the other car. Briski reportedly asked one of the two other occupants to get him to get a gun out of the center console, and they complied because they said they didn’t know how to handle the situation and were scared, court documents say.

The occupant also tried to convince Briski to not use the gun, but he reportedly said an expletive and started shooting.

Both people told detectives that Briski then fired multiple shots at Hawkins, whose car later drifted from the left lane to the right lane before flipping several times and crashing into the pond. Briski then allegedly exited onto Southport Road, stopped the vehicle, got out and ran. Rowland reportedly took over driving the vehicle, according to court documents.

When one of the occupants was asked why they didn’t call police, they said they were in shock, scared and couldn’t believe that Briski had allegedly killed “an innocent man,” court documents say.

Occupants also told police they gave the gun to Rowland, who allegedly left it in the attic of a home in Indianapolis. It was recovered by police, court documents show.

The next day, May 2, detectives got a call from the Johnson County 911 Dispatch Center. Rowland had reportedly called to say she wanted to turn herself in for her role in the road rage shooting.

Franklin Police responded and took her into custody at a home along Young Street. She was later taken to the Marion County jail by ISP on preliminary criminal charges. She was not interviewed at the time as she was waiting for an attorney, court documents show.

Detectives later learned Briski had checked himself into a medical facility on the east side of Indianapolis, and troopers took him into custody thereafter.

During an interview with detectives, Briski admitted to the shooting. “I did it. I didn’t mean to. I was afraid that we were going to crash and die,” he reportedly said.

Briski added he was defending himself and the people in the vehicle, according to court documents.

When recounting the incident, Briski told detectives the car was following too closely and almost hit him from behind. Briski also said the driver of the other car made hand gestures at him, as well as got in front of him and started brake-checking him, court documents said.

This was when Briski said he couldn’t take it anymore and got scared prior to firing shots, court documents said.

Police say that over the course of the interview Briski reportedly became agitated, belligerent and began yelling very loudly. Detectives briefly left before coming back to inform him there were multiple eyewitnesses that contradicting his account of events, and was asked about text messages between him and Rowland discussing altering the vehicle after the shooting, according to court documents.

Several stickers were removed from the vehicle after the shooting in an attempt to alter its appearance, court documents allege.