Butler-Tarkington celebrates one year with no murders- victim’s families still wait for justice

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — One Indianapolis neighborhood, hit hard by a series of murders, celebrates a peaceful milestone today.

The Butler-Tarkington neighborhood spans just over a tenth of a mile, but in just a two-month window last year the area saw four murders.  The neighborhood has now gone 365 days without a homicide.

On Thursday residents and community leaders talked about the successes that led to a much safer 2016 in the neighborhood, but some of the victim’s families say it’s not time to celebrate until some of the killers are brought to justice.

19-year-old roller skating fan Malik Perry died exactly one year ago, shot to death near 41st and Byram.

Two months earlier, someone murdered Clarence Havvard just a block away on Bernard.  His parents still mourn his loss.

“Every day is like yesterday when it happened.  It`s not easy to forget,” said Havvard’s father Clarence Wade Havvard.

Two others, Marshawn Frazier and 10-year-old Deshaun Swanson, were also killed during violent two months in Butler-Tarkington last summer.

The outcry to combat the issue grew especially strong following Swanson’s death last September.  Swanson was killed in a drive-by shooting in the 3900 block of Graceland Avenue.

“There was fear in the neighborhood. Residents didn`t want to come out of their houses,” said former BTNA president Ted Feeney.

Feeney joined the IMPD, sheriff`s deputies, residents and members of the 10 Point Coalition side by side to say that community engagement and teamwork stopped the violence.

“If we`re going to turn the tide of violence in Indianapolis, it`s got to be community driven,” said IMPD chief Troy Riggs.

“No one group can do this on their own.  It can’t just be police or 10 Point.  Residents can’t do it themselves.  It`s the power of partnerships,” said Feeney.

“For me I can`t celebrate because I need my son’s killer brought to justice,” said Gregory Wilson.

Wilson`s son Greg Junior was murdered just south of Butler-Tarkington at 30th and Capitol last October.

Greg joined the four families of those murdered in Butler-Tarkington in saying they`re happy there haven`t been any more killings in the neighborhood, but every day they want the killers caught.

“We have to show we won`t tolerate these murderers being on the street,” said Wilson.

“Every day I`m wanting to get the phone call that says we found who did this to your son.  That`s the call I`m looking for,” said Earenestine Havvard.

Because all 4 murders last year in Butler-Tarkington remain unsolved, anyone with information on those cases is still asked contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

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