ANDERSON, Ind. — Many families and officials in Anderson are expressing their concern surrounding teens and gun violence.
“I saw a posting on Facebook from the father of our most recent murder victim, and I mean the pain that he was expressing was overwhelming. I can’t imagine what that would be like. I have children. Can you imagine?” said Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rodney Cummings.
The first homicide of the year happened Sunday night, and a 16-year-old turned himself for the crime.
“At 16 years old, it’s easy to make a mistake,” said Kevin Oliver, father of Andon Oliver, was shot and killed inside a vehicle at the Sun Valley Town Homes in Anderson.
“It’s a very dangerous situation. I hear from police officers, there’s nothing scarier than a 16-year-old with a gun, and just, they’re not thinking rationally. They don’t seem to have the fear of it. I think for many of them, it’s like a video game. They don’t understand that death is real, and people don’t come back from that,” said Prosecutor Cummings.
16-year-old De’Torio Fleming turned himself in Sunday night for the crime and is facing murder and attempted robbery charges. Andon’s father is appreciative of the gesture since it was the first night but says it doesn’t bring his son back.
“You’ll never close a door and have closure just because he turned himself in. I’m glad that he made the decision to turn himself in,” said Kevin.
Court documents detail the deadly shooting happened during a drug deal.
“One young man was selling drugs, allegedly. The perpetrator asked him if he had a gun. ‘No.’
‘Give me your drugs.’
“Tried to drive off and got shot and killed,” said Cummings.
Prosecutor Cummings has been prosecuting these cases for more than a decade. He says he’s seen his fair share of crime in the community, but overall, homicides have been down in recent years.
“Unfortunately, it happens far too often in this community and in Indianapolis. It’s a way of life for some families. It’s shocking, it shouldn’t be, but it’s the world we live in,” said Cummings.
Within the last year, he’s seen an increasing trend of murders and doesn’t know if he should credit it to COVID-19. Out of the five homicides in 2020, one of the suspects is a juvenile.
“It just seems that everybody has a gun these days. Teenagers, 16 and 17, are selling drugs and carrying weapons,” said Cummings.
Last year, his office charged 17-year-old Kyrell Cole for the October murder of Quincy Malone. He’s now facing murder charges.
“It’s unfortunate that so many young people now feel that they have to have a gun to defend themselves,” expressed Cummings.
As for Andon’s family, they’re hoping his murder can bring change to the community while remembering him for what he was known for most.
“He was a good boy — good-hearted boy. Hopefully this tragedy can inspire some younger generation people to start a new path and new direction. That’s what we’re praying for,” said Kevin.
If the two teens charged are convicted of their alleged roles, they each could face up to 60 years in prison.