The shooting outside Ale Emporium last week does not appear to be a targeted incident, court documents show.
Marco Antonio Gonzalez, 25, of Greenwood, was arrested on preliminary charges of murder and criminal recklessness Monday. Police believe he shot Timothy A. Sannito, 52, of Indianapolis, outside Ale Emporium, 997 E. County Line Road, on March 8.
Gonzalez is currently held without bond at the Johnson County jail. Formal charges are expected to be filed next Monday, said Lance Hamner, Johnson County Prosecutor.
First responders were called to Ale Emporium on a report of a person shot around 9:20 p.m. on March 8. Sannito was found shot and unresponsive in the restaurant’s parking lot, and witnesses reported a black SUV fled the scene.
Sannito was later taken to Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis where he died around 9:56 p.m. from two gunshot wounds, officials said.
Early on in the investigation, police said they believed Sannito and another man had an argument before the shooting. This was because a witness reported hearing yelling that sounded like an argument before the gunfire, however, it seems unlikely this was an argument, especially in light of new evidence that shows Sannito and Gonzalez did not know each other, said Jim Ison, police chief.
Sannito was seen on security footage exiting the restaurant at 9:18 p.m., before walking toward and entering his own car at 9:19 p.m. A black SUV was parked next to him, and movement was seen inside it when Sannito entered his vehicle. Witnesses told police this was around the time shots were fired but this was not able to be seen on the footage, according to a probable cause affidavit provided by the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office.
Twenty seconds later, the black SUV backed out of its parking space and Sannito was seen falling to the ground. The car then fled westbound on County Line Road, and the car was later observed on multiple FLOCK traffic cameras as it left the city, the affidavit shows.
Around 10:20 p.m. the next day, a Greenwood officer saw an SUV matching the description of the car that fled the scene along Apryl Drive. When the officer drove past them, the SUV driver — later identified as Gonzalez — put their hood up, slumped down in their seat and looked away, the affidavit shows.
The officer continued to follow Gonzalez, eventually pulling him over for speeding and disregarding an automatic signal. Gonzalez was reportedly nervous and shaking when he was pulled over.
Looking inside Gonzalez’s car, police found a target used for firearm practice on the floorboard. When asked if he had a gun in the car, Gonzalez allegedly said yes and officers later pulled out a loaded handgun from between the passenger seat and the center console, the affidavit shows.
Gonzalez told police he had been at a shooting range and said he shot out of his window at a red vehicle or a cop car. He said this incident took place on Sunday, but later said it took place on Wednesday or Thursday. He was then asked to go to the Greenwood Police Department for questioning, the affidavit shows.
Once at the department, Gonzalez told investigators his vehicle was seen on FLOCK security images near County Line Road and Emerson Avenue around the time of the shooting. He later left the department, and officers continued to watch him while they held onto his gun, according to the affidavit.
Forensic tests later showed that the fired cartridges found in the Ale Emporium parking lot came were a “100% match” for his gun.
After his arrest Monday, Gonzalez initially gave investigators vague answers and declined to answer questions. Eventually, detectives asked him if he was aware he was being charged with murder, and he replied “uh yeah,” the affidavit shows.
Gonzalez was asked how he felt about being charged with murder, and Gonzalez reportedly replied that “maybe it’s not murder” and questioned whether the charge would “stick,” suggesting it should be manslaughter instead, according to the affidavit.
He told police it should be manslaughter because it wasn’t premeditated and because he didn’t know Sannito. Gonzalez also said he was “not really” being threatened by anyone or afraid of anything at the time of the shooting, according to the affidavit.
While being transported to the Johnson County jail, Gonzalez asked an officer if they had killed someone before. The officer said yes, saying he served in the military and was involved in a police-action shooting, the affidavit shows.
After some silence, Gonzalez reportedly said, “I should have joined the military, at least then I could have murdered someone and gotten away with it,” the affidavit says.
Sannito’s death has left his friends and family with an “unsettling void in their lives,” his family wrote in his obituary. Originally from Hammond, he graduated from Purdue University’s engineering program before receiving an MBA degree from the University of Indianapolis.
For the last 30 years, Sannito worked at NSK in Franklin. He’s also coached many teams for many years for both his son and daughter and loved being a dad and husband, the obituary shows.
Sannito is survived by his wife Karen, two children, his mother, three brothers and several nieces and nephews, the obituary says.
A fundraiser was set up to help cover funeral expenses, and in five days more than $23,795 has been raised so far, according to the fundraising page on Treasured Memories Community Funding.
In an update, representatives said the goal had been reached to cover funeral expenses. However, they are keeping the fundraiser open until March 31 for donations to help his family get through the next few weeks.
To donate, go to tmcfunding.com/funds/tim-sannito-funeral-expenses/7649/.