'Every Room She Went into, She Lit it Up': Girl, 16, Is Fatally Shot in Downtown Indianapolis Hotel

Karla Vasquez was celebrating a friend's birthday

Accident or crime scene cordon tape
Crime scene. Photo: Getty Images

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police have arrested a 17-year-old male accused of shooting a teen girl at a downtown hotel on Saturday, officials confirmed.

Shortly after 1 a.m., police responded to a JW Marriott Hotel after a shooting was reported, officials stated.

“Upon arrival officers were directed to a guest room within the hotel, where they located a female with injuries consistent with a gunshot wound(s),” states a press release from IMPD. “Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services (IEMS) arrived on the scene and pronounced the female deceased at the scene.”

The Marion County coroner's office identified the victim as 16-year-old Karla Vasquez, the Indianapolis Star newspaper reported.

The teen girl’s family has been described as “inconsolable” after they told local TV station WISH that friends and family were celebrating a relative’s 21st birthday on the 20th floor of the hotel.

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“Every room she went into she lit it up,” family friend Alison Gonzalez told the station. “She was the calmest one in the group. She wanted to go home that night. She wanted to finish school.”

Gonzalez told the station she was sleeping beside the victim in bed when she heard the sound of someone cocking a gun and immediately sat up.

“All I remember was just a room full of smoke,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t remember hearing no ceiling falling or anything. So it’s just like where was he aiming and was it really an accident?”

After collecting evidence throughout the night, police announced they arrested the suspect hours later. He faces a preliminary charge of reckless homicide, according to the police press release. His name has not been released.

Anyone with information about this incident should call the IMPD Homicide Office at 317-327-3475 or Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477.

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