Investigators release name of teenage shooting victim


Erick N. Wilkinson, 20, Greenfield

NEW PALESTINE — Officials with the New Palestine Police Department (NPPD) working the Wednesday shooting incident have released the name of the deceased teenager. Evan Neumeister, 18, New Palestine, was accidentally shot around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22 in the 4200 block of South Eclipse Way, New Palestine.

Officials from the NPPD arrested Erick N. Wilkinson, 20, 800 block of CR East 400S, Greenfield around 8:10 p.m. Wednesday night. They are holding Wilkinson under no bond on preliminary charges of criminal recklessness and involuntary manslaughter. Wilkinson is tentatively slated to have an initial hearing in a Hancock County Court Monday, November 27.

NPPD Chief of Police Bob Ehle noted that while officials are still investigating what they believe was an accidental shooting, they do know the gun, a 9mm handgun, belonged to Wilkinson. Ehle noted his department handed over a probable cause affidavit to the Hancock County Prosecutor’s office who will determine the actual charges.

“It’s in the prosecutor’s hands at this time,” Ehle said.

Ehle stated his officers were called to the scene with reports of a shooting early Wednesday evening. Once there, officials found Evan with a gunshot wound to the chest.

Officers rendered first aid until officials from the Sugar Creek Township Fire Department arrived on the scene. Evan was transported to I.U. Health Methodist Hospital where he was later pronounced deceased.

“It looks like there were three friends there,” Ehle said. “We have one juvenile witness.”

Officials with the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County said they were devastated to learn one of their students had passed away and will handle the situation as they do when the district deals with a tragic event such as this.

“We’ll have counselors, clergy and all those pieces together for students and staff Monday when we head back to school following the Thanksgiving break,” Communications Director Craig Smith said.

Friends and family members of Evan’s took to social media as soon as they learned about his death, posting words of encouragement and heartfelt prayers for the family.

“Forever my idol … I love you Evan!” a family member wrote, while another said, “There are no words. We love you.”

The Neumeister family is well known in the community for their work as first responders and in education as well as for the other positive contributions they’ve made. One friend wrote on social media, “Love and prayers to you and your family, no doubt an amazing young man with a heart of gold just like the two of you,” the friend wrote to Evan’s parents.

Another added, “No words can describe how saddened we are. God Bless you.”