The 18-year-old woman who was injured in the Oct. 13 shooting outside the Brickhouse is an IU freshman.
Sharakis Jones was shot in the back. The bullet fragmented and traveled through her body, damaging her lung and leaving a small hole in her diaphragm. After undergoing two surgeries, Jones is facing at least 10 weeks of recovery.
Jones started at IU-Bloomington this school year on a full-ride scholarship after graduating top 10 in her class from Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School in Indianapolis.
Jones’ mother, Tinicka Watson, described her daughter as a sweet, loving and humble person. Watson said she was nervous sending her daughter away to college this year.
Jones, a human biology major, was deciding between IU and Morgan State University, a historically black university in Baltimore, Watson said.
She ended up deciding on IU because of its proximity to her home in Indianapolis and the scholarships she was awarded.
She said her daughter was definitely enjoying college, despite some of the culture shock and nervousness she experienced transitioning from a predominantly black high school to IU.
“Every time I talked to her, she was very happy,” Watson said.
That was until Watson received a phone call in the early morning of Oct. 13 from Jones’ roommate.
Watson was told her daughter had been shot. She said she asked to speak to her daughter as she waited on the ambulance.
“Mom, this is why I didn’t want to come here,” Jones cried into the phone.
This was the last time Watson would speak with her daughter that night. Watson said after speaking with Jones, she got into her car and drove to Bloomington.
Watson took the time on her way to IU Health Bloomington Hospital to pray. She prayed to see her daughter again.
Watson said she couldn’t believe something like this would happen to her daughter. Jones often returned home on weekends since moving to Bloomington for school. She said this was the first off-campus party Jones had been to since starting college.
About 50 minutes after speaking with her daughter, Watson arrived. Jones was already in surgery.
Watson said the bullet entered the right side of her daughter’s lower back. She said the bullet fragmented and traveled through her body to her chest and diaphragm, grazing her kidney and lung.
The surgery on Oct. 13 lasted about an hour, she said. Jones was put into a medically-induced coma until her next surgery at 2 p.m. Oct. 14.
Watson said IU staff came to the hospital the night of the shooting. She said DeeDee Dayhoff, assistant dean for Student Services and Concerns, and Kathy Adams Riester, associate vice provost for Student Affairs, both arrived around 4 a.m. at the hospital.
IU spokesperson Chuck Carney said Dayhoff and Adams Riester were present to provide the assistance they could onsite.
Watson said Dayhoff told her she would notify Jones’ professors. She said Patrick Smith, one of Jones’ professors and the executive director for the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs, came to the hospital.
“They knew it was a student from the very night,” Watson said.
Carney said the university didn’t release that the victim was a student because it was a matter of privacy.
“We were not going to put that out there without the family’s permission,” Carney said.
Watson said Adams Riester returned to the hospital the next day to ask her about her daughter and if she knew any details about what happened.
“I didn’t care what happened,” Watson said. “I didn’t find out Sharakis’ whole night until the detectives came when she came out of the coma.”
During Jones’ weeklong stay at the hospital, Watson said she slept on the floor of Jones’ intensive care unit room while her three other children slept in the waiting room. Watson said many family members and her church’s pastor came to visit Jones.
“Things like this don’t happen in our family,” Watson said.
After the second surgery, Watson said Jones started slowly recovering. Jones was released from the hospital and returned home Saturday.
While Jones was released from the hospital, Watson said she is looking at 10 or more weeks of recovery. She said Jones needs to get her strength back up.
“She’ll be recovering for a while,” Watson said.
Watson said she took a three-week leave from work to be there for her daughter 24 hours a day. She said her main focus right now is her daughter. Jones is her oldest child and a first-generation college student.
“I’m her everything right now,” Watson said. “She doesn’t like me leaving her right now.”
Jones will not be returning to IU this semester, Watson said. She said she cleaned out her daughter’s dorm room at Wright Quadrangle on Friday night.
Watson said she doesn’t know if her daughter will ever return to IU. She said Jones told her she has gone back and forth on her decision.
Jones’ mind is everywhere right now, Watson said. She said she’s mad she cannot be in class and that her life is now on hold. She said her daughter has earned good grades since beginning this semester and is mad she has to withdraw from her classes and start all over.
Watson said Jones has started to recall the events of that night. She said Jones remembers just about everything except for when she arrived at the hospital.
Jones told Watson she went to a party that night at Briscoe Quadrangle on campus. She said people at that party then announced an after party at the Brickhouse.
Watson said Jones told her she went to the party at the Brickhouse, but there were too many people there and she didn’t know anyone, and she wanted to leave. She said she was standing outside and saw a man get kicked out of the party.
And then Jones told her mother she heard gunshots ringing through the air, and she held her roommates’ hand.
“It’s crazy,” Watson said. “She’ll never forget her freshman year of college.”