Indiana man previously charged with gruesome dog killing now accused of murder in July shooting
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis man previously arrested for hanging and stabbing a dog he’d adopted from a local shelter now faces a murder charge stemming from a shooting that occurred less than a month before the gruesome dog killing.
Zech Thomsen, 19, is charged with the murder of Vincent Lovett Clifton on July 13 in the 1900 block of Wallace Avenue.
Thomsen was previously arrested in early August along with three others after a 2-year-old dog named Deron was hung by its leash on a porch in the 700 block of Bosart Avenue and tortured and stabbed to death. Thomsen is accused of hanging and stabbing the animal.
For those accusations, Thomsen faces charges of torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, animal abandonment/neglect, resisting law enforcement and battery of a public safety official.
Thomsen’s new charges stem from the July 13 shooting where nearly 20 witnesses were in attendance as a fight broke out on the porch of a home on Wallace Street that ended with a hail of bullets being fired upon the men on the porch.
In the aftermath of the incident, 38-year-old Clifton was lying dead and a second victim was shot in the hand, foot and knee while dogging gunfire.
Court documents reveal the Wallace Avenue shooting began as a disagreement between family members that ended up leading to a brawl on the front porch of the home. More than 20 people were in the area of the porch during the brawl, several of whom were armed, police said.
Witnesses told investigators that at one point during the brawl a gun was fought for between two men and a pistol was fired into the air.
Court charging documents accuse Thomsen of being present in the crowd during the brawl and that during the fight for the gun, and after someone shouted “He’s reachin’, he’s reachin,” Thomsen allegedly pulled out his own firearm and began unloading on the men who were fighting on the porch.
Witnesses said Thomsen repeatedly fired from between two buildings.
Clifton was struck by Thomsen’s reported gunfire and collapsed to the ground, his own pistol said to be hanging out of his pocket. Witnesses told police that Thomsen kept firing, striking Clifton even while he laid on the ground. The second man who had been fighting with Clifton ran for cover, being struck in the hand, foot and knee.
Court documents reveal police ended up identifying Thomsen by searching for records of people who had been recently shot in the area and found him listed in a report. A booking photo was also found of Thomsen from when he was arrested for killing the dog on Bosart Avenue. Investigators noted Thomsen matched witness description of the shooter at Wallace Avenue including the description of a large tattoo of a crown across his front neck.
Investigators then reportedly found a social media post linking Thomsen to Clifford Masey, who not only was known to have been present at the Wallace Avenue shooting but was one of the three other individuals arrested for the dog Deron’s death.
The court documents state several witnesses also were shown Thomsen’s mugshot, with the witnesses picking Thomsen out as the shooter.
Court documents reveal that investigators ended up speaking to Thomsen, who was already being held on the animal cruelty charges, who denied being shot in May of 2020 despite a “distinct scar” on his lower arm. Thomsen also denied knowing about the Wallace Avenue shooting.
Investigators also spoke to Massey, according to the court documents. Massey reportedly admitted to being at the Wallace Avenue home when the shooting occurred. He also told police Thomsen was with him when it occurred.
Massey told investigators that Thomsen was armed, as was another individual, and that he saw Thomsen move down between two buildings before gunfire suddenly erupted. Massey said he dove into an open door and covered his ears. Massey then left with Thomsen and another, noticing Thomsen run out from between buildings to catch up to them.
Court documents go on to reveal that Massey reportedly told investigators that he didn’t see Thomsen fire any shots but noticed Thomsen acting strange in the days after the Wallace Avenue shooting. Thomsen reportedly didn’t eat or sleep and Massey ended up asking him what was bothering him. Massey told police that Thomsen then admitted to firing three shots during the Wallace Avenue shooting.
Massey reiterated he never saw anyone shoot himself but told police that Thomsen got “angry easily” and often acted out without thinking of the repercussions.
According to the court documents police ended up searching an apartment where Thomsen lived with Massey not far from Wallace Avenue on E. 16th Street. Police found a bullet hole in the mattress of the bed and the intact jacket of the fired bullet was located in the crawl space.
A former resident told police that they had moved out due to Thomsen being a danger, stating he once shot a hole in his apartment floor and pointed a pistol at someone’s head outside the apartment building.
The former resident also said Thomsen had a gun on him “all the time” and would “take it out to show it off to people.” The resident said the gun said “Skye or Smith” and “Wesson” on it.
Court documents reveal that firearms examiners determined that all 13 of the Smith & Wesson casings found at the Wallace Avenue scene came from the same firearm. Casings from a 9mm were also collected from the scene and tied to a Glock 17 pistol.
Thomsen is being held without bond in the Marion County Jail.
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