One charged in Cumberland robbery, shooting

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CUMBERLAND — A murder charge has been filed against an 18-year-old accused of involvement in a robbery at a store near the Hancock-Marion county line in which a Cumberland man was shot to death.

Police said Steven Sheppard of Indianapolis kept a lookout outside Dollar General, 12046 E Washington St., while a 14-year-old, armed with a pistol, was inside the store demanding money from the cashier, according to court documents.

Sheppard did not wield the gun that killed 37-year-old Gregory Raley Monday night — his young friend is believed to be the shooter, according to police — but Marion County prosecutors seek to hold him responsible for the man’s death, court records show.

Sheppard faces a charge of murder and one Level 2 felony count of robbery causing serious bodily injury. The murder count carries a penalty of up to 65 years in prison; the Level 2 felony carries a penalty of up to 30 years.

The 14-year-old accused shooter is referenced in the probable cause affidavit filed against Sheppard. His name has not been released because of his age.

Michael Leffler, a spokesman for the Marion County prosecutor’s office, said the investigation into the 14-year-old suspect is ongoing. Any court hearing regarding the young man will occur in a juvenile court, proceedings of which are closed the public.

Court documents filed this week in the case tell a more complete story about what happened.

Employees at the Dollar General told police a young man — later identified by police as the 14-year-old — came into the store around 9 p.m. Monday. He jumped over the counter and pointed a gun at the store clerk, demanding money, court documents state.

The store cashier told police she could feel the gun being pressed against her neck at one point, court documents state.

As the suspect ran from the store, Raley was coming into the building looking for his fiancee, who was inside the store when the robbery began. He was shot as he crossed paths with the suspect, court documents state.

Raley suffered a gunshot wound to the chest. Police tried to administer first aid but were unsuccessful. He died with his fiancee and her daughter at his side, according to court documents.

Raley interacted with Sheppard just before he died, police said.

An officer patrolling the near Dollar General spotted two men in a suspicious interaction in the store’s parking lot. One man, later identified as Raley, threw his hands up as if surrendering to the other man, later identified as Sheppard.

The officer, suspicious about what was happening, pulled into the parking lot. As he did, the 14-year-old exited the store, spotted Raley and shot him, court documents state.

Both suspects ran from the scene, toward a wooded area behind the store, as the officer tried to assist Raley.

Officers with the Cumberland Police Department, Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department set up a perimeter several miles wide and searched for the two overnight.

They eventually found Sheppard, whose clothes were wet and covered in brush, walking along Washington Cove Way, a residential street less than a quarter-mile north and west of Dollar General. The 14-year-old was found in a car nearby with two other unidentified friends, court documents state.

All four were taken into custody and questioned.

Sheppard denied involvement in the crime.

He said he was shopping in the store when the robbery occurred. He said he did not know the 14-year-old, court documents state.