INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating a shooting on the city’s northeast side that left two men dead, plus another man and a woman injured.
According to IMPD, officers were called to the 7500 block of North Shadeland Avenue just after 2 a.m. Saturday for a report that a person had been shot. When they arrived, officers found four victims in the parking lot with gunshot wounds.
One man was pronounced dead at the scene, and a second man died as a result of his injuries shortly after arriving at the hospital.
The Marion County Coroner’s Office on Monday identified the two victims as 50-year-old Rodney Willis and 47-year-old Darnell Bell.
Police said the other two victims were taken to area hospitals and were listed in stable condition.
“We believe that the people who were involved in this had been frequenting a business that was open in this area just before that, however, preliminary information leads us to believe that everything that occurred, occurred in the parking lot area,” said Genae Cook, public information officer for IMPD.
“We understood someone did flee from the area, however, an accurate description and information is limited right now,” said Cook.
IMPD is asking anyone who witnessed what happened, heard anything, or knows what may have led up to the incident, to call police with any information.
“This is another situation in our city that is a tragedy. We have four people shot at 2 o’clock in the morning,” said Cook. “Think about it. If you were here, please contact us.”
The identities of the victims have not yet been released as of early Sunday morning.
“This is someone’s family member. This is someone’s son, grandson. Both the people involved who are deceased, they have family, and we need to stand up for their family and give their families closure,” said Cook.
Police emphasized the need of working together in all areas to find solutions to this type of violence.
“Not just solutions to why crime is high but solutions to communication. You know, teaching people how to communicate with each other without using knives, guns or other weapons,” said Cook.
“There comes a point in time where, you know, we have to say it’s enough. This is where we’re saying to the community, take a look around you. If you see someone that you know is going to become violent or you believe may become violent, this is where you have to step forward and let somebody know what you know,” Cook continued.
She said this is how communities can make an effort to prevent crime before it happens.
“We see a lot of emotions from the community. We see a lot of sadness from families who are involved in this, and we see a lot of, you know, community areas that are broken apart because of these types of tragedies, so it’s important we still work together.”
One of the groups working to promote positive change on the city’s northeast side is the North Shadeland Alliance. The group focuses on micro-community development initiatives, specifically in the area from 82nd Street to Shadeland Avenue.
One of their biggest initiatives was creating a place that IMPD officers could come to in hopes of creating an increased police presence in the community and promoting more community engagement.
In July 2020, the group opened an IMPD substation, located in the Shadeland Station shopping center. The resource center for IMPD officers was created with the idea in mind to give officers a place to work, eat or relax when patrolling the area, bringing the increased presence to the neighborhood.
The substation was funded entirely by donations raised by neighbors and continues to be 100% community-supported, according to the neighborhood group.
Kris Parmelee, co-founder of the North Shadeland Alliance, said the creation of the police substation is not an end-all solution, but rather it is just the beginning.
“We’re incredibly disappointed by that recent shooting. We’ve been working so hard, and the community is so engaged, but there is only so much we can do in our little space,” said Parmelee.
She said seeing stories of crime, like this, gives people the impression of the community that “simply isn’t true.”
“This is actually a very safe community with tons of community engagement,” Parmelee expressed.
“Crime has been happening here at a greater proportion than ever before, but it remains a very safe community. There are lots of people who live and work in this area without incidents, so when this happens, we feel like it just pushes us back, like all of the work we’ve done. It’s like one step forward and two giant steps back,” she said.
Parmelee said there are many individuals and groups working to fight crime in the Indianapolis community. She called these efforts “incredible” but said they can’t do it alone.
Parmelee said she is calling on city leaders and elected officials to step up and help find solutions to being more proactive before crime happens, including looking at increased public safety measures.
“Another thing that we really lack in this community is you know, really proactive security systems and cameras. IMPD has a system called b-link, which would provide immediate feed of security footage. We don’t have that here,” she said. “That’s another thing we’ll be working on is getting the whole corridor hooked up with b-link.”
She said in this situation, cameras or no cameras, someone saw something, and they need to let police know.
“It is really cowardice of somebody not to come forward when they know who did this,” said Parmelee. “There was a giant group of people when this happened. They know who did it.”
Anyone with information about this case is being asked to call the IMPD Homicide Office at 317-327-3475 or Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477.