INDIANAPOLIS — Family members identified Deric Thomas, 46, as the man found dead of a gunshot wound Sunday morning in the 100 block of North Euclid Avenue.
“All I can say is you killed a good dude,” said Latasha Salami who had two children with Thomas. “I got a call on the phone this morning saying he was laid out in front of a truck this morning dead. So I brought my son over here to see what was going on and this is what it was, him dead on the ground.”
One neighbor said he heard a single gunshot as evidence technicians combed the street for clues.
“He ain’t the kind of person who would go around bothering people or doing anything like that. Its just like wrong place at the wrong time. That’s how I’m taking it,” said Salami. “He was a great father. He never was around as much because he stayed getting in trouble in stuff and locked up a majority of the time but when he got locked up this last time he started trying to do what was right.”
For reasons no one can explain, October has recently turned out to be an exceptionally murderous month in Indianapolis.
So far this month, homicide detectives have investigated 13 killings, compared to seven at this time a year ago when the city was on its way to setting an annual homicide record, 11 on this date in 2020 and six thus far in October of 2019.
“I wear a bulletproof vest,” said Pastor Robert Jackson of Sword and Spirit Word of God Church as he tapped his torso, “cuz they’re shooting randomly, so if there’s a bullet that’s coming my way, I want some protection.
“We had a shooting last week and now we have one this morning and then we had one at the filling station I think about two or three months ago, so the violence has increased.”
In recognition of that violence, IMPD and three contractors have wired a five-square mile area of the eastside for gunshot audio detection technology to help officers respond quicker to gunfire and the collection of evidence.
“It is a very troubled part of the city,” said Jackson. “People are afraid to say anything because they don’t want their name out there in the street and so there’s a lot of fear in the neighborhood.”
Jackson had approached Thomas’ family in a front yard across the street from the murder scene to offer his church as a place of respite, sanctuary and feeding in the wake of the killing.
He had this advice for his neighbors.
“Watch your surroundings, 360 awareness and pray and keep peace in your heart.”