INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Norvell Terry has spent a lifetime surrounded of violence.
Over the last month, his family has been rocked by murder three times.
In an attempt to stem the tide of bloodshed and find answers to last weekend’s killing of a teenager he had raised as a grandson, Terry was out at the Farmington Lake Apartments near East 38th Street and Franklin Road asking neighbors what they knew about 15-year-old Kevin Rainey, Jr.
“Somebody over here knows what happened to your baby,” a woman who knew Terry from back in his old neighborhood said to him outside an apartment building at the back of the complex. “He left out of here at six thirty that evening out of these apartments.”
Six hours later, IMPD officers discovered Rainey’s body in the 3600 block of Penway Street, just steps away from the house where he was supposed to be buttoned up and asleep for the night, according to his mother.
“I said, ‘Please just tell me what is going on with my son?’” Tonya Wells remembered telling a phone caller from Eskenazi Hospital early Saturday morning. “At that point he told me that my son had been shot and that was all the information he could give me.”
Wells said Kevin was shot in the head.
“He’s a 15-year-old kid, you know, he doesn’t know the street life around here. He’s just a normal 15- year-old child that is into playing video games and hanging out with family. You would never think anything like this would happen to him at all.”
Wells said Kevin had recently been staying home from school for misbehavior that she addressed and he had recently been attacked at the apartment complex nearby.
“He told me that he had been jumped on. He would not tell me who jumped on him,” said Wells. “I asked him several times. He would not tell me who jumped on him. He said, ‘Mom, it's okay, I’ll handle it. It's okay.’”
According to a resident of Farmington Lake Apartments, Rainey might have had reasons not to tell his mother what he was into.
“He hung around these apartments all the time. He was over here all the time. They say he was doing a lot of stuff,” the woman told Rainey’s grandfather Norvell Terry. “He was barred off this property but he kept coming back over here.
“There’s people be hating on him. Little kids be hating on him.”
Terry said his visit to the apartment complex in search of answers came despite the discouragement he felt at the violent turn Indianapolis has taken in the last decade.
“It takes a thug to talk to a thug,” he said. “The answer always lies to wherever you had a beef with someone at. It just takes people to go around and ask questions.”
Terry has cooperated with investigators in the past probing Indianapolis murders.
“These days and times you see more young people 18 and under with guns,” said Terry. “I interviewed a gun one day at the gas station and was just standing there talking to him and another guy pulled up in a car and there was a 13-year-old with a gun hanging out of his pocket and the reason I know he was 13 because I asked him. I wasn’t scared to say, ‘Hey, what are you doing that?’ He said, ‘Better safe than without it.’”
Kevin was the eighth child under the age of 17 to be murdered in Indianapolis this year. IMPD homicide detectives have identified six children as suspects in cases so far.
“You think this would never happen,” said Wells, “but I’ve heard it and I’ve seen it all the time but its just when its right at your door it’s a feeling that you never felt. You never ever want to feel. This is horrible. This is completely horrible.”
Wednesday at 5 p.m., Tonya and Kevin’s family will release balloons at the basketball courts at Washington Park near the intersection of 34th and Dearborn Streets in memory of her son.
If you have information on the murder of Kevin Rainey, call Crimestoppers at 317-262-TIPS. Tips can be left anonymously and could lead to a reward of up to $1,000 if the information leads to an arrest.