Threats against community leader proof of crime, anger, desperation
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 27,2015) — After dark Friday night and before dawn Saturday morning proved to be a dangerous time across Indianapolis as seven people were shot and three of them were murdered.
Gregory Paffumi, 19, was wounded several times before dying in the parking lot of the Pangea Park West Apartments in the 3800 block of Bennett Drive shortly after 11 p.m.
Five hours later Paffumi’s friends weren’t happy to see the Reverend Charles Harrison and members of the Ten Point Coalition who often show up at murder scenes to comfort the family of the victims, gather information and caution against retaliation.
“There was about five of us here and at that time we had a confrontation with a group of young men who got to screaming and hollering at us and basically they threatened us and said we were part of the police and we allowed the police to lie to them about what was going on here,” said Harrison as he returned to the turf where he was challenged by the angry crowd. “If we didn’t leave the area they were gonna spray us and they threatened us and we need to get out of here before the police left the area and basically they got in my face and started screaming and hollering at me and told me to shut up and if I didn’t shut up something could happen immediately.”
Harrison left but not before hearing gunshots, he said, or spotting a vehicle trailing him on West 38th Street.
“I don’t know what kind of threat we would’ve been to them other than we’re shining a light on what’s going on in this neighborhood for them to react that way and they reacted in a way that makes you think they’re desperate now,” he said.
IMPD Chief Rick Hite told Fox 59 News the group might have been just blowing off steam at the nearest non-combatant it could find though he acknowledges criminal gangs are under more pressure than ever from rivals and police and that could lead to posturing, threats and murder.
That’s what happened to Henry Nunn in the 3500 block of North Illinois Street last winter.
Nunn was a witness to a murder, and told detectives what he saw.
One killer was convicted. Another suspect was acquitted. Investigators think Nunn was targeted because he spoke up.
Nunn’s murder remains an open case even as IMPD has taken down the Grundy Crew, a northside drug gang that may be responsible for two dozen unsolved killings in the past three years.
Chief Hite said he has taken a personal interest in solving the Nunn case to send a message that honest residents who cooperate in the fight against crime should not be held captive by fear in their homes.
William Gannon, one of gang leader and murder suspect Richard Grundy’s associates, released a rap video that proclaims, “**** the police and **** snitches and **** whoever and whatever that they witness and in the streets you must follow the code.”
That code, Gannon makes clear, is to look the other way and do not cooperate with police or stand up to crime.
“I think its intimidation its coming to an end they don’t want to change. This is their way of protecting their nest, so to speak,” said Mario Bennett, a Ten Point Coalition member and former resident of the complex were Friday night’s murder occurred. “I would tell them for me, ‘I was once you. I was once you and I know what you’re going through.’
“We were or are just like them and all we want is peace.”
Burnett said if outsiders are intimidated from responding to Indianapolis’ toughest neighborhoods when crime breaks out, the residents will be subjected to more bullying and threats.
“I feel like then the community the residents, the women and children, will see that, feel like all is lost.”
Recently Marion County prosecutors dropped murder charges against an east side man accused of killing a teenager who was kicking over trash cans because a witness refused to testify.