Murder of 10-year-old Deshaun Swanson remains unsolved exactly four years later

Data pix.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Exactly four years ago, a 10-year-old Indianapolis boy was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Butler Tarkington.

Unfortunately, no one has ever been arrested for the death of Deshaun Swanson.

Police believe a gang turf war led to the deadly shooting at a home on Graceland avenue. That same month his grieving mother pleaded for help finding the killer.

“They took someone very special to our family and they need to turn themselves in and they need to pay for what they've done to my family,” said Shannon Swanson in September 2015.

Sadly, that call for justice has never been answered and police have not gotten the help they need from the public to arrest the triggerman.

“It’s terribly unfortunate that we don’t have the physical evidence in this case that we have in others, so it’s going to take someone with moral courage to step up,” said IMPD deputy chief Josh Barker.

Before becoming deputy police chief, Barker worked as commander on IMPD’s north district and says Deshaun’s unsolved killing hasn’t been forgotten.

“I think it’s a case that weighs heavily on a lot of officers minds,” said Barker.

Police believe Deshaun was simply caught in the crossfire of a drug war in Butler Tarkington that also claimed the lives of Clarence Havvard, Marshawn Frazier and Malik Perry. All four were killed in less than 2 months sparking the 10 Point Coalition to begin patrols of the area.

“That was the spark that galvanized the community,” said reverend Charles Harrison.

Over the last four years, the 10 Point Coalition teamed with IMPD and the community to reduce violence in the neighborhood.

“Since then we’ve only had two homicides. One was domestic and one was a street homicide,” said Harrison.

As a result of that peaceful turnaround, Harrison says 10 Point will now begin to scale back their patrols in Butler Tarkington and begin peace keeping work in new areas of the city.

“We only have so many resources and so many boots on the ground and there are other high crime neighborhoods that need our assistance and we want to help in those areas too,” said Harrison. “We’ve been in the neighborhood for four years now and there’s other areas that need some assistance.”

Harrison says instead of street patrols 4 or 5 nights a week, 10 Point will only patrol Butler Tarkington 1 or 2 nights a week. He didn’t want to say just yet which neighborhoods the group will begin patrolling next.

Leaders at IMPD says while Deshaun’s unsolved death is tragic, it allowed multiple groups to rally together and make the neighborhood safer.

“Deshaun’s death has not been in vain because that community has been uplifted to a level that is 180 degrees different than what they were faced with in 2015,” said Barker.

Officially all four of the murders from 2015 remain unsolved. Anyone with information on the cases is still asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS (8477).

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