Deaf Man Was Killed in Road Rage 'Honking Incident,' Says Family, as 2 Charged with Murder

Ryan Hawkins died after he was allegedly shot on the highway and ejected from his car, which landed in a pond, say police

<p>Ryan Hawkins/Facebook</p> Ryan Hawkins

Ryan Hawkins/Facebook

Ryan Hawkins

A deaf man from Indiana was killed in what his family members allege was a violent road rage incident, and now two people are charged with murder, say police.

On May 2, Indiana State Police arrested Andre Briski, 24, of Indianapolis, and Shawna Rowland, 23, of Greenwood, in connection with the May 1 shooting death of Ryan Hawkins, 35, the state police said in a statement.

On the afternoon of May 1, state police dispatchers received numerous 911 calls about a possible shooting and a car swerving off the road and into a pond on I-65 northbound, state police said in the statement.

First responders raced to the scene and found an adult male lying in the grass, unconscious and unresponsive, according to the state police. The man was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators determined that his Hyundai Elantra had gone into a nearby pond and sunk near the area where the dead man had been found.

“Three Indiana State Police SCUBA Divers happened to be within a couple miles of the crash and immediately responded,” state police said in the statement.

“Within minutes,” state police divers and divers from the Indiana Fire Department were in the water. They dove under the surface, located the vehicle and determined that no one else was inside.

Investigators at the scene learned that just before the accident, shots were allegedly fired from inside of one vehicle at the car in the pond, state police said in the statement.

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The victim suffered from an injury consistent with a gunshot wound, as well as injuries he sustained from being ejected from the vehicle before it entered the water, the statement said.

Crime scene investigators found what appear to be bullet holes in the side of the submerged vehicle.

Hawkins family told local outlet WISH-TV they believe he was killed following a “honking incident.”

They said they believe Hawkins tried to speed away from the other vehicle, a Ford Explorer, WISH reports.

His car swerved off of I-65 when he was shot, they told WISH. He was thrown from the car before it landed in the pond.

Other motorists said that when Hawkins sped away, the Ford Explorer pulled up to the driver’s side window and someone inside started shooting at him, according to court documents obtained by local station WRTV.

Later that night, State Police detectives found the other vehicle that was alleged to have been involved in the accident.

The vehicle authorities found led them to the two suspects they believe are responsible for the shooting, state police said.

Briski was arrested and charged with murder and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, state police said in the statement.

<p>Indiana State Police</p> Andre Briski

Indiana State Police

Andre Briski

Rowland was arrested and charged with assisting a criminal and obstruction of justice, state police said.

<p>Indiana State Police</p> Shawna Rowland

Indiana State Police

Shawna Rowland

Briski allegedly told police Hawkins was “brake-checking” him — or, abruptly pulling in front of him and then slamming on his breaks — the court documents show.

“I’ll tell you right here, I did it,” Briski allegedly said, according to the court records, WRTV reports. “I didn’t mean to, I was afraid that we were going to crash and die.”

It is unclear whether Briski and Rowland have retained attorneys who can speak on their behalf.

His family is devastated by his death.

“When deaf people meet deaf people, you click instantaneously, because you have similar lives,” his brother, Drew Hawkins, told WISH.  “But Ryan just connected with everyone, he was a beautiful soul.”

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