INDIANAPOLIS — Nikki Cope was driving her daughter Nya and a friend just after midnight on May 3, 2020, near Indianapolis’ northeast side when she became stuck in traffic as dozens of young people swarmed the intersection of E. 38th Street and N. Arlington Avenue and congregated in the parking lot of an abandoned department store.
“I was complaining about, ‘One of these cars is gonna hit me. I gotta get turned off away from here’,” Nikki recalled. “Before I knew, I turned to my girls and I said, ‘Oh, my god, somebody’s shooting,’ and my daughter’s friend was in the back seat and she ducked down and then my daughter took her last breath and she fell over.”
Nya, Nikki’s 16-year-old daughter, was shot in the head from behind as a bullet entered the trunk of the car and continued through the headrest on the front seat.
“They was being careless and not realizing what they were doing and shooting off a gun into the back of a car,” said Nikki. “That or they were after someone else.”
Nya’s killing remains unsolved. On Sunday, Nikki and two friends drove down from Marion, where her daughter was on the path to graduate high school this spring, to spruce up a white cross marking the intersection where the teenager lost her life.
“I grieve every day still. There’s not a day that I don’t cry yet,” said Nikki, who monitors Indianapolis gun deaths even though she lives 85 miles away. “I feel so sorry for the ones that live here and have to go through this every day. As soon as I hit Pendleton Pike, I start feeling anxiety coming on me, worried about who may shoot anybody.”
Nya’s family, the Ten Point Coalition and Central Indiana Crime Stoppers have combined to offer $7,000 in reward money to anyone who comes forward with information leading to a conviction in this killing.
“When they pull that trigger so easily, they don’t know what they’re doing and killing other people’s loved ones,” said Nikki.
Anyone with information who wants to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.