INDIANAPOLIS — With at least four murders and seven non-fatal shootings on the record this past weekend, IMPD fears more retaliation could be in store for the east side of the city in the days to come.
A 17-year-old was wounded in an alley off the 1100 block of North Hamilton Avenue as 37 shell casings littered the ground.
Two men were shot outside a nightclub at 38th Street and Emerson Avenue in a drive-by attack where three weapons kicked out 18 spent shell casings. Three cars were damaged, a Dodge Charger fled the scene and police said witnesses were not cooperative. Investigators found one of the victims recently served a 12-year prison sentence on an attempted murder conviction and now wonder if payback is in the air.
A man and woman were shot to death in the 4000 block of Stratford Court while a man was killed in the 4000 block of Alsace Place and a man was murdered in the 4300 block of Stouffer Lane, all since Friday night.
Mayor Joe Hogsett said he was saddened by the citywide violence over the weekend that left eight homicide victims in its wake during the first stretch of warm weather to hit Indianapolis this spring and he was asked if the mayhem is a precursor of what lies in the months ahead.
“It doesn’t bode well but this doesn’t stop our resolve,” said Hogsett who committed a huge chunk of the city’s pandemic relief funds over the next three years to the community fight against violence. “Adding $150 million, adding 100 new police officers to the street, unprecedented historic levels of neighborhood investments so that community activists and community members can get involved, a 50-person peacemaking force out in the streets, all those investments in those things in combination with one another will change the trajectory.”
Indy’s peacemakers, which include violence interrupters, outreach workers and life coaches, were on the streets this weekend responding to the spasm of violence.
Shardae Hoskins, program manager for Gun Violence Reduction at the Office of Public Health and Safety, spent her Monday morning meeting with those peacemakers, learning what they saw and heard over the weekend and coming up with a plan to keep the peace in the week ahead.
“This morning, they had some really great ideas as far as getting out and about a little bit more, getting out and about during those high ticket hours. If we know crime happens at 2 a.m., per the data, or 1 a.m., per the data, we need to be outside during those times,” she said. “Those youth are in those community centers today talking about those incidents that happened over the weekend.”
Three eastside shooting victims over the weekend were juveniles and IMPD still has not made any arrests in the killings of two teenagers at Dubarry Park in early March.
Hoskins said this week her staff will focus on heading off retaliation.
“Retaliation is definitely something we’re looking at when we are out there,” she said. “We want to connect with family pretty immediately and we want to try to establish who within the family would be doing something like that and we try to wrap around them. Let’s take them out to lunch. Let’s get with them. Let’s not take our eyes off them.
“Usually 72 hours after something like this happens is when those people are the most elevated, so, for the next 72 hours afterward, we gotta be on them.”
Hogsett continues to bank on long-term solutions to Indianapolis’ immediate violence problem.
“I think that the investments that we are making and will continue to make over the course of the summer will allow us to have better outcomes than we had this past weekend,” he said. “We’re not going to change direction overnight but I think a steady investment in our neighborhoods led by a wide variety of community activists will make a difference ultimately.”
While the number of homicides is down in Indianapolis compared to a year ago, the number of homicide incidents is steady compared with this point in 2021 due to three mass murder incidents early last year.
Non-fatal shootings are down nearly 20% compared to a year ago with 174 victims as the result of 155 incidents.
At this point in 2021, there were 217 non-fatal shooting victims as the result of 193 incidents.