News In Brief

Private security guard Melvin Hall has been charged with murder following the Aug. 28 shooting death of Naytasia Williams, according to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) and Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears.

Just after midnight on Aug. 28, officers were called to an apartment complex in the 4100 block of N. Brentwood Drive with reports of shots fired. Eyewitnesses say Williams, 25, and Hall got into a verbal argument while Williams was sitting in her car. Williams had a registered firearm in her passenger seat, and had allegedly gotten into a verbal altercation with another person before the incident involving Hall. Hall allegedly shot Williams several times, with witnesses reporting he offered Williams no verbal warning before firing. Eyewitnesses also reported Williams getting out of her car and collapsing on the ground following the shots.

By the time officers arrived, according to the affidavit, a large crowd had gathered in the complex, and a security officer’s car was set on fire. Williams was transported to Eskanazi Hospital in critical condition and was later pronounced dead. An autopsy report found she sustained three gunshot wounds.

“Once again, I would like to thank the IMPD Homicide Unit and our East District patrol officers for investigating the tragic death of Nataysia Williams quickly and with professionalism,” IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said in a statement. “Their quick work brought justice following her untimely death. I would also like to thank the deputy prosecutors and the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office for their work in this case.”

Hall was charged Sept. 1 and his trial date is pending.

This isn’t the first time Hall has been investigated by the police. According to IMPD, Hall was charged with impersonating an officer in 2015, but was cleared of all charges on appeal. In March of this year, Hall was cleared in a shooting when he shot a man suspected of trespassing while he was working as security at 37th and Meridian. The man survived, and allegedly shot at Hall first.

Despite the charges previously brought against Hall, Mears said his case will only focus on the facts related to this specific incident.

“We go by every case based on the facts presented,” Mears said. “I think it’s dangerous when prosecutors look at what someone does before. We evaluate based on the merits and facts presented as they are to our office.”

Mears said the two other security guards with Hall at the time of the shooting were factual witnesses to the shooting and were cooperative. In the affidavit, Hall was described as the other guards’ boss, employed by Superior Tactical Response Agency, L.L.C. (STRA)

At the time of publication, a representative from STRA could not be reached for comment.

After being charged, Hall refused to be interviewed by detectives, but spoke to reporters from WTHR, saying he shot Williams in self-defense.

“When we evaluated the circumstances, we knew self-defense could be an issue,” Mears said. “But based on evidence from first-hand testimony from before, during and after the shooting, and … autopsy evidence … we felt comfortable bringing the charges about.”

The date for Hall’s hearing has not been set.

This story is ongoing and will be updated when new information becomes available.

Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.

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