Latest gun violence victim was teen about to graduate high school

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 4, 2015) -- A teenager about the graduate from high school became the latest victim of gun violence Sunday night.

Darrius Taylor, 18, died after being shot on the east side. Taylor was set to graduate from Warren Central High School in just a few weeks.

"It's tough, you know. It's tough and it breaks my heart," said Ontay Johnson, executive director of 100 Black Men of Indianapolis.

CBS4 has learned that this was not Taylor's first brush with such violence. Police questioned him back in November, after the shooting deaths of two former Warren Central students, Robert Young and Deontae Butler.

The issue of teen gun violence is one the city has been tackling through multiple initiatives.

On Friday, that issue appeared inside a school. Ben Davis High School administrators found a loaded gun on a sophomore student who indicated he believed it was necessary for his dealings outside of school.

"What we heard is that he brought it to school because he had to go somewhere after school. ... It was a neighborhood, apparently, that he felt he needed to have a gun," Mary Lang with Wayne Township Schools said.

Both scenarios, Johnson said, are all too familiar with teens in communities across central Indiana. In particular, he saw Taylor's death as a direct reflection of the troubles plaguing the city's African-American youth.

"I like to think of African- American males as the canary in the coal mines. They’re sending out messages that our environment is toxic and they’re saying to us adults, 'What are you going to do about it?'" Johnson said.

Johnson said that it is the community coming together, through initiatives like the Your Life Matters campaign and My Brother's Keeper, that can help turn young lives around. He hoped anyone, whether they see the issue first hand or not, would help find a solution.

"What we fail to realize is that we’re all a part of the community and so it’s in our best interest to do what we can to lift (them) up," Johnson said.

For more information on 100 Black Men's summer initiative and information on how to sign up, go to the link here.

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