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‘Mass chaos’: 2 shot, including teen, after suspect opens fire inside Indianapolis gym

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In what police called mass chaos, a person entered a busy gym in Indianapolis Wednesday night and opened fire inside, injuring two people, including a teenager.

The shooting took place just before 8:30 p.m. inside VASA Fitness on the city’s west side, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said.

The business is located just west of Interstate 465 about 9 miles northwest of downtown.

Officers were initially dispatched to the gym for reports of an active shooter, police spokesperson Officer Samone Burris told USA TODAY Wednesday.

People were exiting the gym as officers arrived and the remaining of the gym was searched, evacuated and cleared, Burris said.

“It turned out to be two people shot and not an active shooter,” Burris said.

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‘Mass chaos’

Police Capt. Mark McCardia said hundreds of people were inside the gym when gunfire broke out and described the scene as “mass chaos” to reporters Tuesday night.

Burris said the shooting suspect entered the gym using its front door, opened fire and then fled the business using the same front door.

Arriving officers found a man and a teenager suffering from gunshot wounds.

The gym is in a busy commercial area near Target and other restaurants.

Witnesses: ‘It was an absolute mess’

Gym-goers described a similar scene about the violence.  

“It was horrible,” said Celia Navarro, a 32-year-old who said she was in the sauna with her sister when she heard the gunshots. “The gym was packed and it was an absolute mess.”  

Navarro said they couldn’t see the shooter nor did they know what was happening, so she and her sister ran as fast as they could through an emergency exit and hid near an apartment complex behind the gym with another small group of people until they returned home. 

Israel Lopez, 27, said he heard the gunshots mid-workout and saw hordes of people running toward the back. He took cover behind the leg machine he was using because it was made of metal to try and find an exit, but didn’t need to do so for long. 

“As fast as it happened, it all went away,” he said. 

Lopez, who’s been going to the gym for a few months, said Mondays and Tuesdays seem to be when the facility is busiest.  

Gym shooting victims taken to hospital

Both male shooting victims were awake and breathing when they left the scene to be transported to a hospital, Burris said.

Their conditions were not immediately known Wednesday morning.

No other injuries were reported, police said.

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Gym shooting suspect still at large

As of Wednesday, the shooting suspect remained at large but Burris said there was no pending danger to the community.

Detectives were working to interview witnesses to get a description of the shooter as the case remained under investigation.

Burris said it was too early to say if it was targeted, but preliminary information shows some sort of disturbance took place at the gym before the shooting took place.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Indianapolis police.

When will VASA reopen?

A VASA spokesperson said the gym will remain closed Wednesday “to focus our attention on providing support to those in need.”

Without giving a specific date, the company said they will alert members “as soon as possible” about when it will reopen.

“We are in shock and saddened following yesterday’s tragic event and we are grateful there have been no fatalities,” Jaime Cottini, a VASA rep, said in an emailed statement. “Our No. 1 priority is the health and safety of our team and members, and our hearts go out to everyone impacted.”

Cottini said the gym is working with law enforcement as the investigation continues.

Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at nalund@usatoday.com and follow her on X @nataliealund. Contact reporter Sarah Nelson at 317-503-7514 or sarah.nelson@indystar.com.

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