Murder charge filed against suspect in slaying of Dutch soldier in Indianapolis

A man was charged with murder in connection with the slaying of a Dutch commando during a heated confrontation in Indianapolis that might have been fueled by excessive drinking, officials said Thursday.

In addition to murder, Shamar Duncan, 22, was charged with disorderly conduct and two counts of attempted murder, Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears announced.

An initial court hearing for Duncan was scheduled for Thursday afternoon but it was not immediately clear if he had hired or been assigned an attorney who could comment on his behalf, The Associated Press reported.

Simmie Poetsema, whose unit had been training nearby, was killed in the shooting, which happened in front of a downtown hotel about 4 a.m. Saturday and wounded two other soldiers, officials said. One of the injured soldiers has returned to the Netherlands and the other is expected to return Thursday, Deputy Police Chief Kendale Adams said. Both are expected to make a full recovery.

The fatal confrontation might have been sparked by two groups of men accidentally bumping into each other on the street, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday.

The water tower at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Cente in Butlerville, Ind. Three members of the Dutch Commando Corps, who were training at the center, were shot outside their hotel in downtown Indianapolis early Saturday morning.Michael Conroy / AP

Assistant Police Chief Chris Bailey lamented the excessive drinking that’s long plagued that neighborhood.

“We spend an enormous amount of money to ultimately babysit adults in just a two-block area of downtown Indianapolis,” Bailey told reporters.

“And it’s frustrating to us that we have very little authority and local controls over those establishments that serve alcohol. We have numerous occasions … of over-serving, letting in people in there that are already highly intoxicated, drug dealing going on inside the establishments. It’s repeated itself over and over and over again. So yeah we’re absolutely frustrated.”

Mears was asked directly if either the suspect or victims might have been impaired.

“Given the night where people were coming from, it’s certainly a possibility,” Mears told reporters. “It could have been a contributing factor.”

The Dutch soldiers, members of the Commando Corps, were in Indiana for training. They were shot in front of their hotel while off-duty, the Dutch Defense Ministry has said.

The Indiana National Guard has said the soldiers were training at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, NBC affiliate WTHR of Indianapolis reported. The 1,000-acre facility is around 60 miles southeast of Indianapolis, near Butlerville.

Marin Scott contributed.

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