McCordsville shooting incident appears to be accident; gun charge still pending

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Mohammed S. Tabanja, 39, McCordsville

HANCOCK COUNTY — The McCordsville man accused of shooting a woman in the leg late last week was officially charged in Hancock County Superior Court 2 Monday. However, in the report, the shooter and victim say the incident was an accident.

Mohammed S. Tabanja, 39, 6100 block of West Redhawk Station, has been charged with a Level 6 felony count of criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon. The charge can carry anywhere from a six-month term up to two and a half years in prison.

Tabanja was supposed to have an initial appearance in Superior Court 2 Monday morning, however he noted he needed an Arabic interpreter, so the initial appearance was rescheduled for Monday, Dec. 11. In the meantime, Magistrate Cody Coombs set bail at $1,000 cash and Tabanja bonded out.

Prosecutor Brent Eaton noted his office filed a case they believe is supported by the evidence that can be proved in court.

“Every crime we charge has a ‘mens rea’ or ‘guilty mind’ element,” Eaton said. “Most commonly it is ‘knowingly or intentionally,’ that a defendant has done a thing. Basically, that means that the person, when doing the thing for which they are charged did whatever it was intentionally with a mind that is clear as to what they were doing (i.e. not an accident). In this instance, we have alleged criminal recklessness which has ‘recklessness’ as the ‘mens rea’ which is basically accidental.”

According to a probable cause affidavit, officials from the McCordsville Police Department were called to a home in the 6100 block of West Redhawk Station at approximately 8:14 a.m. Friday morning, Nov. 17 with a report of someone being shot.

Officials stated Tabanja was out front when officials arrived and had blood on his hand. Police also noted they found a gun in one of his pockets, the affidavit said.

When officials went inside, they found a female victim, 34, sitting near the kitchen island with a gun wound to her left leg. The woman was transported to St. Vincent Hospital where she was treated and released the same day.

Officials noted in the report that when the woman called in the shooting incident she was asked who shot her and she replied she didn’t know. According to the affidavit, the woman then said, “It’s not an assailant; it’s not like an invasion; it was an accident,” the victim said. “I’m not in danger or anything. It’s just an accident.”

The woman went on to tell officials the last thing she remembers after putting her kids on the bus was she was making breakfast then she was shot. She noted the entire situation was a “blur,” the affidavit said. The woman also noted after she was shot, Tabanja began applying pressure to the wound to help stop the bleeding.

The affidavit stated the woman told officials she felt “extremely safe” in her home and there were no issues prior to the shooting incident.

Tabanja told officials he had a Beretta .25 caliber handgun in his nightstand drawer located in the master bedroom, and he put the gun in his right pants pocket when he got dressed that morning. According to the affidavit, he told officials he owns a restaurant in Indianapolis and when he goes to the restaurant, he keeps one round chambered in the barrel of the gun.

According to the affidavit, Tabanja noted he’d only had the gun six to seven months and was standing in the kitchen when he went to “clear” the gun, and it accidentally fired and shot the woman in the leg.