Ashton Harting was shot and killed in Indianapolis just after 2 a.m. on Jan. 19

By Tara Fowler
February 04, 2015 07:45 PM

Ashton Harting was walking home with friends in Indianapolis just before 2 a.m. on Jan. 19 when he was shot and killed.

On Monday, police formally charged Dino Thompson III, 17, as an adult in the murder of the 13-year-old boy, which witnesses say happened because he saw the group knocking over his trash cans, the Indianapolis Star reports.

“I think about him every day,” Ashton’s mother, Misty Harting Gibbs, told WTHR. “I lost a part of my soul when they took him from me.”

What exactly happened in the early hours of Jan. 19 is uncertain. Police say Ashton was shot in the back while out with his older brother and friends. Neighbors rushed out to help, but he died on the scene.

A boy with the group told the police that the teens were knocking over garbage cans “during horseplay” when the shots were fired, according to court documents obtained by the Indianapolis Star. Other witnesses described a grown male who told the teens to get “off my block” before he began shooting.

Thompson was arrested a week later after an anonymous tip directed police to his house, where they discovered spent shell casings.

He denied firing at the boys, telling cops that an SUV crashed into his trash cans and that he thought his house was “about to be shot up again,” WTHR reports. He ran outside in an attempt to catch the car’s license plate number.

But when investigators spoke to his girlfriend, she told them Thompson took a silver handgun from his dresser and went outside after he heard the trash cans being knocked over. She then said she heard three or four shots, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by the Star.

She also said that Thompson had asked her to lie about what had happened.

For her part, Thompson’s mother is in a state of shock. “I never in a million years would think my son would be arrested for murder,” she told WTHR.

Harting Gibbs is in shock too, but for a different reason. “I think it’s petty. It’s ridiculous,” she said to the Star. “I’ve had kids knock over my trash cans, and I’ve had kids break my windows. But there’s no way in hell I’d pull a gun out on anybody.”