Chuck E. Cheese shooting impacts nearby business

The children at Bright Beginnings day care often take field trips to the Chuck E. Cheese a few doors down.

The proximity of the pizza chain restaurant full of arcade games makes for a natural outing for students, Bright Beginnings’ directors told IndyStar. Teachers load the children in “buggies” and walk them a short distance to the restaurant every three to four months.

Kids and faculty of Bright Beginnings walk by nearby Chuck E. Cheese, Monday, Feb.  21, 2022, a day after a man was fatally shot in the parking lot of the restaurant near Mitthoeffer Road and Washington Street.

Every day, families dropping off or picking up their children at the day care pass the kid-friendly pizza joint at 10001 East Washington St.

The day care was closed Sunday when the parking lot outside became yet another deadly Indianapolis location.

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Just before 5:30 pm Sunday gunfire from the strip mall’s parking lot ripped through the restaurant, shattering windows and fatally striking a man outside while parents rushed to shield their children inside. Videos taken by families show parents and children in disarray.

Employees at surrounding businesses on Monday described shattered glass spilled around the sidewalk and road. Police had not released information about a suspect, the man left dead in the parking lot or a motive behind the shooting as of Monday afternoon.

Cherelle Young, director of Bright Beginnings, a day care center a couple doors down from Chuck E. Cheese, Monday, Feb.  21, 2022, lets a customer and her child in a day after a man was fatally shot in the parking lot of the restaurant near Mitthoeffer Road and Washington Street.

Leaders of Bright Beginnings said the reality of violence happening so close isn’t lost on them.

“It’s sad when you’re in the business of children and people bring dangerous situations to children’s front doors,” said Cherelle Young, the child care’s director. “First of all, it’s sad for the family of the man and awful for the safety of everyone around them.”

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