INDIANAPOLIS – As communities call for economic and racial equality, families want you to pay attention to Indianapolis’ homicide numbers. So far in 2020, the average age of people killed in Indianapolis is just 28 years old. Overall, nearly 80 percent of homicide victims are black.
In early June, 16-year-old David Lowery was shot and killed about 10 minutes away from the MLK Center. It is a place where the teen took part in a summer work crew. Community leaders and families believe the city needs more programs for our youth to stop this disturbing trend.
Kimberly Roberts is heartbroken because she continues to see so many crime scenes come up on the news. Her son, Jalen Roberts, was killed in a quadruple murder in early February. All four victims were 21 years old or younger.
Roberts, 19, Kimari Hunt, 21, Braxton Ford, 21, and Marcel Wills, 20, were shot inside an apartment in the 4100 block of Shady Oak Drive just after 10:30 p.m. on February 5.
Police arrested four people for that shooting, including three 19-year-olds and one 17-year-old. Cameron Banks, 19, and Rodreice Anderson, 19, Lasean Watkins, 19, and Desmond Banks, 17, are charged with multiple counts of murder and robbery resulting in serious bodily injury.
“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him,” said Kimberly. “I miss him so much.”
Since the murder of her son, more than 50 people also under the age of 30 have been killed in Indianapolis.
“As a parent, I did not want to bury my child,” she said. “I wanted my children to bury me and my son was 19 and I never imagined him being murdered.”
Dee Ross, the founder of the Ross Foundation, wants to shine a light on this trend too. He believes the city needs to offer more programs for young people, so they do not become victims or perpetrators of crime.
“When you don’t have any of the amenities in a community these are some of the outcomes that will come from this,” Ross said. “What is causing people to kill each other? What is causing people to sell drugs? What is causing people to break in?”
Not only are most homicide victims young but nearly 80 percent of people killed in Indianapolis this year are black. It’s a statistic Ross wants people to keep in mind was communities fight for racial equality.
“Black people are being impacted the most. This is a problem,” he said. “This just shows we have a long way to go we have to break down a lot of systems to protect our black men.”
Four young men face a murder trial in August for the February murder of Roberts, Hunt, Ford, and Wills. Kimberly is still fighting for change, so no other family has to feel her pain.
“If we as adults are not educating them and giving them what they need, once they are in trouble then what do we expect for them to do,” she said.