A 24-year-old Indiana woman was shot dead earlier this month after someone in her ethnically diverse party said “all lives matter” to a group of “Black Lives Matter” supporters during a racially-charged altercation.
The incident happened at around 3:00 a.m. on July 5 when Jessica Doty Whitaker, her fiance Jose Ramirez, and two others were walking along the Canal Walk in downtown Indianapolis.
Whitaker was a home health nurse and the mother of a toddler.
“She shouldn’t have lost her life. She’s got a 3-year-old son she loved dearly,” Ramirez told Fox 59 after the shooting.
In a telephone interview Monday, Ramiraz told American Greatness that before the altercation, his group had celebrated the 4th of July at his mother’s house, and then went to a bar where they’d each had about one drink before they headed downtown.
In addition to Whitaker and Ramirez, the party consisted Michael, who is Hispanic, and Micala, who is black. Whitaker was the only white person in the group, the grieving man said.
During their walk, according to Ramirez, one of the friends used the term “nigga” in a slangy, non-racist way and a nearby group of Black Lives Matter supporters overheard the word and angrily confronted them.
The BLM group consisted of three black males, one black female and a baby, according to Ramirez. One of them hollered, “what’d that bitch say?!” he said.
At one point, someone in the BLM group yelled, “black lives matter!” and someone in Whitaker’s group responded with, “all lives matter!”
After much “cussing and yelling,” guns were drawn, at which point, Ramirez said he tried to deescalate the situation.
He told American Greatness that he tried to reason with the BLM group, pointing out that since they had a baby with them and his side had kids at home, they should stop fighting and just go their separate ways.
The groups reportedly “then fist bumped and walked away from each other.”
A few minutes later, however, multiple shots rang out from a nearby bridge, and Whitaker was struck. Ramirez told American Greatness that he thought they were aiming for Whitaker.
“It was squashed, and they went up the hill and left we thought, but they were sitting on St. Clair waiting for us to come under the bridge and that’s when she got shot,” Ramirez told Fox 59.
Ramirez said he returned fire but did not hit anyone.
He told Fox 59 that it fell upon him to explain what happened to Whitaker’s little boy.
“It’s hard to tell him his mom is in heaven and if you want to talk to her you have to look up and say, ‘I love you mom,’” Ramirez said.
The shooting marked the second homicide in the canal in a week, and Indianapolis police have stepped up patrols in the area.
Police have not made any arrests in the case and have not released any suspect information.