Indy teen shot and killed overnight continues violent trend of youth homicides in 2020

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Photo from the scene on August 7, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — Police are searching for the person who shot and killed a teen on Indy’s east side early Friday morning.

Just after 1 a.m., IMPD officers responded to Bradley Avenue where they found a teenage boy shot in the neck. The victim staggered down a sidewalk after being shot before he collapsed. The teen, later identified as 17-year-old Ja’Ron Bonds, died after being rushed to the hospital.

A blood trail visible in the daylight suggests Bonds was shot near the gas station on New York before running across the street and into the neighborhood on Bradley. Police don’t know what led up to the shooting, but numbers released by IMPD show 2020 has been a violent year for youth homicides.

“The homicide rate is just sickening,” said reverend Malachi Walker with Young Men Inc.

Reverend Walker has spent a quarter-century encouraging young people about how to avoid a life of violence and can’t recall the murder numbers ever being this bad in the city.

“Getting out in the streets, I tell these kids you don’t have to be out looking for trouble. Trouble will find you and a lot of times it ends up being tragic,” said Walker.

Walker believes getting parents involved in their kid’s lives is critical to help the city’s youth deal with their frustrations.

“They’re screaming and yelling for help, but they’re not getting the help that they want, so the parents are throwing their hands up,” said Walker.

Even before the death on Bradley, there had already been 8 gun violence homicides in Indy in 2020 involving a victim under the age of 18. At the same time in 2019, there were 4 such deaths, with 5 killings in 2018.

For his part, reverend Walker offered some advice to all the city’s youth.

“I tell the young men, life is short, but you’re young.  You have your whole life ahead of you. Don’t destroy your dreams and aspirations in life,” said Walker.

Overall, homicides are also way up in 2020. The death on Bradley was homicide number 135.  Over the last three years, that number has been in the low 90’s on the same date.

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