Police arrested a 23-year-old man on a preliminary charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm and questioned him about the shooting. He was not charged in connection with the shooting, police spokesman Lt. Chris Bailey said.
"We don't know who the shooter was yet. Shooter or shooters," Bailey said.
Investigators were still trying to sort out what happened more than 12 hours later, and were hoping witnesses would come forward once the initial fear had worn down.
"We know some of the things that happened, but we need confirmation," Hite said.
Police said one man was in critical condition at a local hospital. Five other men and a woman also were shot, but did not have life-threatening injuries, authorities said. All of the victims are in their 20s.
Hite said numerous officers, even those who were off duty, responded to the gunfire about 2:23 a.m. Saturday in Broad Ripple, about a half-hour before the bars were to close at 3 a.m. The neighborhood about eight miles north of downtown Indianapolis has many bars and restaurants, and is a popular spot with college students and other young people.
"I've been told there were quite a few people out ... on a typical Friday night, bouncing from bar to bar. Someone opens fire in a crowd like that, we're lucky more weren't hurt," Bailey said at a news conference earlier in the day.
Hite said such incidents could be avoided if people simply didn't carry their guns when they went out partying.
"Late night, drinking and weapons don't mix," Hite said.
Rob Sabatini, who owns three bars in the area, told The Indianapolis Star that the streets were crowded before the shooting.
"The bars will be half-empty but the streets are packed," he said. "It's wall-to-wall people outside and God forbid you bump into someone and they don't like it."
The shootings are the latest in a violent year for Indianapolis, which is on track to rival its record of 162 homicides, set in 1998.