INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Another violent weekend in Indianapolis follows a call for peace.
Two men were killed Saturday and Sunday in a pair of shootings. Their deaths came after several local pastors called for a cease fire starting this past weekend.
The two homicides bring the number of murders in Indy this year to 132. Just after midnight Saturday, in front of the Ritz nightclub on North Harding, 41-year-old Vernie Anderson was shot and died in the street.
Exactly 24 hours later, just after midnight Sunday, a 19-year-old was killed in an apparent drive by shooting on the near south side.
Local faith leaders say the violence isn’t surprising, but they hope this past weekend was just one step in the ongoing push for peace.
“We're never going be able to stop homicides. It's folly for anyone to say we're going to stop homicides,” said Rev. Stephen Clay with Messiah Missionary Baptist Church.
Still, two weeks ago reverend Clay and many others called for a ceasefire weekend.
On Saturday, IMPD purchased 181 firearms in a gun buyback event.
On Sunday, church pastors preached a message of non-violence, in what was meant to be the beginning and not the end of the call for peace.
“It's not one and done. We believe this was a good start,” said Clay.
“It never was intended or designed to be a one weekend situation,” said Rev. Wayne Moore with the Baptist Ministers Alliance.
The 19-year-old killed in the weekend drive-by, identified as Dujuan Love, was no stranger to violence. Last year, surveillance videos showed a pair of armed thieves rob 13 stores over two months.
Court records show Love was arrested for those crimes and pleaded guilty before being released after serving just over eight months in jail.
That’s why many say reforming the legal system, reducing poverty, and removing guns from the hands of criminals are all issues that need to be addressed to try and prevent deadly violence.
“This one step does not eradicate these historic problems that plague our city,” said Clay. “You can talk about buy back situations, but on Monday morning we still have unemployment. We still have poverty,” said Moore.
While the two weekend murders are disappointing, faith leaders hope to avoid a repeat of last year when Indianapolis saw 25 homicides in the month of November. That was the deadliest month of the year.