INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — More than half a dozen families in Marion County are without loved ones after a violent weekend, leaving everyone from community groups to family members asking for an end to senseless violence.
Monday evening, dozens of people gathered at 34th St. and Franklin to remember one of the victims, 17-year-old Le’Andre Lane.
“My son was a church boy, he loved to do Gospel things. Y’all took my heart,” his mother, Na’Kita White, said.
Sunday afternoon, someone shot and killed the teen while he walked on a nearby sidewalk. He was one of seven people killed across Marion County over the weekend, ranging in ages from 16 years old to 76 years old.
“We feel like we got hit in the mouth this weekend,” IMPD Chief Bryan Roach said.
Roach said the city is still safe, though, and that people are working non-stop. Monday afternoon, he and Mayor Joe Hogsett publicly unveiled IMPD’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center.
“Well you can’t help but be discouraged about weekends that we just experienced but I am encouraged at the progress that we are making,” Hogsett said.
The Office of Public Health and Safety said the city is continuing to increase investments in programs. Last year, the office reports $3 million was spent on neighborhood- based crime prevention efforts and that the figure will grow to around $4 million this year. That includes a$300,000 grant program for grassroots organizations working on evidence-based violence prevention.
“We really have to look at how the resources are being used and we gotta have a bottom up approach This is not just a law enforcement issue. It is a law enforcement, community, faith based issue. We all have to be working together to address both the violence on the streets and the root causes that is leading to the violence,” Rev. Charles Harrison, the board president for the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition, said.
Monday afternoon and evening, coalition members went back to the area where Le’Andre was killed to help try to curb anymore potential violence and reach young people. It’s not a neighborhood they typically patrol.
“If we can contribute in any way to help to bring calm, that’s what we really want to do and we’re really talking to people about non-violent ways of handling conflicts and we’re really trying to teach our young people,” Harrison said.
Le’Andre’s loved ones are trying to reach young people, too. They said the teen went to church, loved basketball and wanted to be a welder.
“He wasn’t out here doing what he wasn’t supposed to do, he was making his mom proud,” his God-grandmother, Aleasha White, said.
During the vigil White asked kids to get off the streets, settle any differences without guns and find someone who can help them better themselves.
“We need to get our kids off the street we need to make sure that they have an education, get a job,” she said. “Because this violence out here it’s senseless.”