INDIANAPOLIS– Coming off a year that saw 245 homicides in the city, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) is now investigating three homicides in the first four days of 2021.
A shooting early Friday morning at the Chelsea Village Apartments, near I-465 at Ditch Road took the life of 62-year old James Anderson. Saturday evening, 72-year old Russell Peed died after being shot in the home neighbors say he shared with his wife near 20th and North Alabama Streets.
“He was a great guy,” said a neighbor who asked not to be identified. “He spent most of his time fixing up that house across the street.”
The same neighbor said he had no idea why somebody would shoot Peed.
“I don’t have any reason to believe anyone would have any ill will towards them,” he said.
On Sunday, a shooting at a home in the 2000 block of West Coil Street left 35-year old James Greenberg dead.
“I was in the house, in my room, you know,” said Destiny Chapman, a friend of Greenberg. “All I heard was gunshots, I hurried up and went on the floor because I didn’t know what was going on.”
“He was a good dude, he didn’t deserve that,” said Natalie Browning, another friend of Greenberg. “Whoever done it, they had to be a cold-hearted person.”
Reverend Malachi Walker, Director of Young Men, Inc. Ministries, called the violent start to the new year disheartening.
“This is out of control,” Walker said. “And we as a city, we need to really wake up and understand that if we don’t take control of this, this thing is going to control us.”
While Indianapolis saw decreases in several different types of crime, 2020 saw a 43% increase in homicides from 2019.
Walker said he understands that crime trends can’t be changed overnight and a safer city will require sustained long-term efforts. He says he looks forward to working with the city’s newly-appointed Deputy Mayor for Neighborhood Engagement, Judith Thomas.
He also believes state lawmakers should continue looking for ways to make it more difficult for the wrong people to get their hands on guns. He said that could include tougher penalties for those found in illegal possession of guns.
“If you get caught with a gun, if you’re an ex-offender, I know there’s regulations due to that,” Walker said. “But it don’t stop them from having them. People are dying.”
Walker says he supports IMPD Chief Randal Taylor’s recent comments about taking more minor reports over the phone to help officers maintain a stronger presence on patrol.
In the meantime, Walker is pleading with young people to think twice about their choices and who they hang out with. He’s also asking parents to be deliberate about knowing what their kids are into.
“Knowing what’s going on in their bedrooms, knowing who their friends, who they hang around with,” Walker said. “These things are very vital when it comes to saving our kids.”
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett released the following statement:
“Any homicide in Indianapolis is a tragedy, and we mourn the lives lost alongside victims’ families and friends. It is clear that the trends in shootings and homicides affecting cities across the country have not halted with the changing of the calendar. We will continue to adapt our best practices to the situation on the ground, working to interrupt the cycles of violence and prevent fatal incidents through a combination of community-based beat policing, the City’s Community Violence Reduction team, and coordination with neighborhood groups.”