2 fans hurt in robbery, shooting near speedway

The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- A robbery and shooting left two men injured early Sunday, authorities said, just 24 hours after an Indiana man was fatally shot in the same parking lot near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Multiple people approached two men after 2 a.m. Sunday in the Coke Lot, Speedway Police Department Lt. Trent Theobald said, and one man was beaten and had his personal items stolen. Theobald said the suspects fled and the second man chased them, but was shot.

Theobald said the shooting victim is in serious condition at an Indianapolis hospital, and the robbery victim is in fair condition. He could not provide additional information about the suspects or victims.

The robbery and shooting happened just hours before the start of the Indianapolis 500.

The Coke Lot is a series of sprawling grass lots divided by small creeks where for decades thousands of fans have camped out and partied on race weekend. Amid fans' recreational vehicles, cars and trucks on Sunday afternoon stood piles of beer cans, liquor bottles, chicken bones and other debris.

The day before, Max Levine, 25, from Kokomo, was shot and killed after an argument early Saturday morning in the Coke Lot. Avory Johnson, 19, of Indianapolis, was being held without bond in the Marion County Jail on a preliminary charge of murder.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Brian Olehy said Saturday that the fatal shooting was unusual. In 2012, a fan was hospitalized after he was shot in the chest after an apparent altercation across from the speedway.

In a separate incident Sunday, Jason Gossett of Indianapolis said he was jumped by several young men about 4 a.m. while he was partying with friends and fans at two makeshift bars they had set up in the Coke Lot, complete with a DJ and karaoke.

The 31-year-old told The Associated Press that a young man with another group began throwing beer bottles at his group, striking one of his friends. Then, Gossett was attacked. One man fired six shots and then pistol-whipped him, leaving him with a head injury that required a trip to a local hospital.

''We had a good old party going on here, and I didn't ask for all that stuff,'' said Gossett, whose had gashes and a deep bruise on his forehead. ''I've been coming here 15 years and I've never had any problem out here. And other than that I had a good time.''

Gossett and his friends, 32-year-old Jeremi Wilkins and 40-year-old Chris Bottorff, both of Indianapolis, said they don't think they'll go to next year's race.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Myers said officers had arrested only one person Sunday: a pickpocketing charge at the track.

Indiana State Excise Police said officers working around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway over the weekend arrested 211 people on 250 charges.

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