East side murders continue despite peace efforts in Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Indianapolis police continue to investigate after two people were shot to death in less than an hour on the east side.

The pair of shootings took place Wednesday afternoon.

One of the crimes happened on the exact spot where a group of former law breakers has been holding peace walks to fight back against violent crime.

Craig Bledsoe spearheaded an honest effort to reduce violent crime along Sherman avenue by teaming with the Ten Point Coalition on peace walks starting two weeks ago.

“We gotta do something.  We can’t sit back and do nothing,” said Craig Bledsoe.  “It’s like you got cancer and you don’t go to the doctor.  We got to do something.  We gotta try something.”

Unfortunately, just two days after the first walk a man was shot and killed just a few blocks east of Sherman on Gladstone and again on Wednesday at a gas station at 34th and Sherman a man was shot following an alleged armed robbery.

“We’re trying to determine if it was indeed a robbery,” said IMPD Sgt. Kendale Adams.

Police arrested 27-year-old James Holder who stayed on scene after the shooting and claimed he was being robbed by the victim, but police say video evidence shows the victim, Michael Johnson, walking away from the suspect prior to being shot.

“The only time you can use deadly force is if your life is in peril.  If someone is walking away, how much threat was his life at that point?” said Adams.

A map highlighting homicides around the city this year shows a clear clusters of homicides near 34th and Sherman, including nearly dozen murders within a mile radius.

That’s why the "Concerned OGs," a collection of former drug dealers, gang members and ex-cons are now committed to stopping violence.

“Everybody’s tired, so let’s stop being tired and be active and proactive,” said Bledsoe.

Bledsoe says the Concerned OGs will to continue to walk along Sherman every week.

They agree with police, cutting down on violent crime is a long term fight that won't happen overnight.

“Our efforts are not aimed at immediate effect, although we would love it, don’t get me wrong, we would love it,” said Bledsoe.

“This is going to take consistent effort of behalf of police and community,” said Adams.

According to court records, the victim of the shooting here at the gas station does have a lengthy criminal past including multiple charges of robbery over the years.

Police say it’ll be up to the prosecutor’s office to decide whether to charge the suspect with murder.

In another shooting on Sherman and Market Wednesday, police say a large group of people were arguing over a video game when one person was shot and killed.

No arrests have been made in that case.


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