INDIANAPOLIS — A call for a domestic disturbance led to an hours-long situation with man barricading himself and several others inside an apartment on the city’s south side.

According to IMPD, just after 10 p.m. Saturday, officers were dispatched to the 3300 block of Rue Chanel for a report of a domestic disturbance. Upon arrival, officers made contact with a man, who barricaded himself, along with a woman and two children inside an apartment.

IMPD said the suspect, identified in a police report as 25-year-old Dominic Smith, wouldn’t allow the two children or mother to leave, which turned the call into a hostage-type situation. Officers were able to communicate with the family through the door, police told a FOX59 photojournalist at the scene.

According to police, neighbors said they believed they heard gunshots, though it is not clear whether any shots were fired or if any weapons were recovered.

An IMPD SWAT team was eventually called out to the scene. Police used non-lethal rounds to break out the front window, detain Smith and help take the mother and children out of the apartment.

Smith was taken into custody without further incident, and according to jail records, preliminarily charged with domestic battery, battery, criminal confinement and invasion of privacy.

Court records reveal, Smith was convicted of domestic battery in a 2020 incident and ordered to serve his sentence in the Marion County Jail. He was released on Jan. 31, according to jail records.

No injuries were reported during the incident.

Domestic violence resources in Indianapolis

“One thing I’ve learned from doing this work and working with so many victims and survivors is that majority of perpetrators or abusers who do abuse, once they start, they don’t stop until they get the help that is needed,” said Danyette Smith, who serves as the city’s first Director of Domestic Violence programming through the Office of Public Health and Safety (OPHS).

“So, if you go onto our free databases such as MyCase and look those up, pay attention to who you’re dating and understand just because it’s you, it doesn’t mean that that individual will change. Majority of the times when they continue to abuse, it just gets worse and worse because they feel that that power and control is being lost, so often times at can resort into death,” said Smith.

Smith, founder of Silent No More Inc., is also a survivor of domestic violence, and is working to help connect more victims and survivors across Indianapolis with resources.

“It’s very important that our community understands and knows that there are resources out there for domestic violence and to understand that if you call one and they may not have that resource that you need, there are other agencies that can supply or get you that resource that may be needed, whether it’s for protection, for housing, just those simple resources,” said Smith.

Smith said, the goal of the new program is to be that streamline that allows for victims and survivors to have one go-to program where they can get all of the information they need to be connected to the appropriate resources.

The hope is to be not only a resource for those who need it, but that it will serve as a prevention program in the Indianapolis community.

“The feeling that I get when I receive that call or when I have to go to that scene it’s just not an explainable feeling to anyone who’s ever not been through domestic violence,” said Smith. “It sits me in a moment of, what can I do? What’s missing in our city that can be added so that we can improve it for those moving forward?”

Smith’s experiences in working with victims and survivors have pushed her to learn how she can get into the community and identify where the gaps exist in the domestic violence system.

“So that we can strengthen them, come together, and be a powerful city when it comes to this domestic violence fight,” said Smith.

The new program is taking a boots-on-the-ground approach and partnering with area agencies, including IMPD, to help improve how to get resources to those who need it.

Smith said, numbers don’t lie, and area codes reveal which parts of the city IMPD responds to the most homes for domestic violence-related calls.

“46218 is the highest zip code amongst domestic violence calls in runs to them,” she added. “What can we do different as a community, as a togetherness to really go into that community and let them know that we see that there’s an issue with domestic violence within the homes, it’s not the community, it’s literally the homes and we know that because it’s been the same zip code for the past years.”

“So, how can we go into these homes, let them know what these resources are and that they have people they can call to talk to, to get that plan and protection they may need to get out of it? We know it won’t be easy, we know that it can be scary, however, we know that it’s a possibility and it can get done,” said Smith.

Smith understands that being in a domestic violence situation can be scary, confusing and come with what-ifs, and a wide variety of emotions.

“What I will say is, reach out to the Champions Program. Why? Because we are survivors. We can get in your shoes we can understand exactly where you are and then just help you from there to reach that point of freedom and to not live in fear as much,” said Smith. “It’s possible, but, you have to reach out. You have to get to that fed up point and reach out to someone.”

Smith also encourages any family member or friend who knows of someone going through domestic violence, to listen to that person.

“Making sure you take note of everything and then if they’re ready to make a plan, if you have to call as a family or friend to get an understanding of what to say to that person, don’t hesitate to do that,” said Smith.

“You just doing that simple thing may seem like nothing to you, because it may take another six months before that victim is leaving. It may be tomorrow before that victim is leaving, but the fact that you took that step to be a voice and get that information for that friend or family member is huge and could definitely save a life within our community,” Smith added.

Smith believes the Champions Program will be a huge adjustment in the city, not because those involved as advocates are survivors of domestic violence, but because of the ability to streamline services to the community.

“We want to make sure we’re tapping into these families while we can early on, so our youth aren’t damaged when they come older from the experience of witnessing domestic violence,” said Smith.

Resources:

For people in domestic violence situations in need of help, there are several resources in the Indianapolis area that you can reach out to for assistance, including:

You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 (SAFE) or visit their website to learn more.