Indiana News

Teen to spend years in prison for 16-year-old's death in downtown hotel room last year

Teen to spend years in prison for 16-year-old's death in downtown hotel room last year


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A teen will serve time in a state juvenile prison for the shooting death of a 16-year-old girl in a downtown hotel room last fall, Marion County prosecutors said.

Juvenile court officials on Wednesday entered a “true finding,” equivalent to a guilty verdict in adult court, for a 17-year-old in the fatal shooting of Karla Vasquez. 

Police found Vasquez shot just after 1 a.m. in the hotel room and pronounced her dead. Witnesses said she was asleep during the shooting.

If committed by an adult, the charge would be classified as a Level 5 felony, which carries up to six years in prison, according to Indiana law.

The shooter left the JW Marriott hotel immediately after, prosecutors said. Investigators said the teen later revealed he picked up the gun at a party and it fired.

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IndyStar typically does not identify minors convicted of crimes unless they are tried as adults. 

Family told IndyStar after the shooting that Vasquez, an identical twin, visited the hotel that night for a birthday party. She told her brother before her death that she wanted to be remembered as a “butterfly.”

“At only sixteen years old, Ms. Vasquez’ life was tragically cut short from a reckless act of gun violence,” Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears wrote in a statement. “We continue to see the devastating consequences of unintentional shootings, particularly when young people access firearms that they are not prepared to handle. A greater understanding and adoption of gun safety measures can prevent these tragedies.”

The court committed the teen to an Indiana Department of Correction facility until his 21st birthday.

Contact Sarah Nelson at or 317-503-7514. 

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Published at Wed, 16 Jun 2021 22:25:53 +0000