IMPD cracks down on illegal guns and serious violent felons at Indy apartment complex where 12-year-old girl was shot

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The scene of the shooting on Belhaven Place.

INDIANAPOLIS — Cracking down on illegal guns and getting serious violent felons off the streets is the focus of public safety efforts on Indy’s east side.

Earlier this year the department created Violence Reduction Teams and Violent Crime Task Forces for each district.

Those groups use a targeted and strategic, data-driven approach to keep the city safe.

On Sunday night, a 12-year-old girl was severely wounded after being shot in the neck at the Washington Pointe Apartments.

“No one in this city thinks that’s acceptable behavior,” said IMPD East District Commander Richard Riddle.  “Our criminal investigators are looking at that specific shooting, but somebody has to pick up the pieces and look at the bigger issues behind the scene of what’s driving the violence.  Why do we have repeated shots fired and people shot in this one small complex?”

Following that shooting, the IMPD East District Violence Reduction Team and detectives with the district’s Violent Crime Task Force began surveillance of the complex, looking for anyone who may be responsible for repeated reports of shots fired in the area.

“We’re trying to get ahead of the curve and take people off the streets that are carrying illegal guns,” said Riddle.

Court records show during that surveillance officers arrested James Winbush, who was allegedly found with an illegal handgun during a traffic stop.

Photo of handgun seized by IMPD during traffic stop

Court records also claim Winbush was arrested two weeks earlier and accused of illegally carrying a gun during a traffic stop in Lake County.

Winbush is not connected to the weekend shooting, but police reports show he is suspected of taking part in a different shooting at the same apartment complex in June.

“We’re not shying away from saying we are targeting bad actors in our community,” said Riddle.

Still, district commander Riddle admits success in public safety remains hard to measure.

“The thing is we don’t know the number of shootings or homicides we’ve prevented from our proactive measures this year,” said Riddle.  “We’re focusing on the right people in the right places to try and drive down the violence we’ve seen across the city.”

Winbush is due in court for an initial hearing of his case next week.

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