INDIANAPOLIS – October is off to a violent start in Indianapolis. Ten people have been shot to death in the first six days on the month.
Two more men are dead following a pair of shootings overnight.
The series of homicides this week is especially alarming because October has been the deadliest month of the year each of the last two years.
Around 3 a.m., police found man shot to death in the parking lot of an apartment complex near 38th Street and Post Road. A second man was shot and wounded at nearby gas station parking lot.
“Gas stations are becoming dangerous places to go,” said reverend James Jackson with Fervent Prayer Ministries.
Reverend Jackson’s church is just over a mile east of that gas station. He said the violence didn’t come as a big surprise. He wishes the city would do a better job cracking down on repeat violent offenders.
Just four hours before that killing, police also found two men shot and one dead in a neighborhood on Hillside Avenue. Witnesses said a father and son were shot in that case. On Thursday, police said the second victim from Hillside Avenue died from their wounds.
The victims were identified as Michael Rollins, 39, and Michael Rollins, Jr., 18.
“We’re seeing too often people are solving their problems with guns, and we want to put a stop to that,” said major Mike Leepper with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
While police said they remain focused on solving crimes, they need the public’s help to prevent violence.
Unfortunately, starting over the weekend when a woman was killed by a stray bullet outside the Rural Inn liquor store, IMPD has investigated nine deadly shootings over the last six days.
“I know what the numbers are saying, that homicides are down, but it doesn’t feel that way,” said reverend Charles Harrison with the Ten Point Coalition. “The perception is not that it’s better. The perception is it’s as bad as it has been the last two years.”
In fact, with 31 homicides in October 2020 and another 34 deaths in 2021, October has seen a spike in violence each of the last two years.
“Something is going on in the month of October we haven’t put our finger on,” said Harrison.
Reverend Harrison says his patrol teams with the Ten Point Coalition have never felt less safe patrolling the streets. He says the state’s new open carry law has made people in traditionally high crimes neighborhoods even more concerned for their own safety.
“It’s going to take time to fix the perception. People are afraid,” said Jackson. “I think the worst thing we can do is descend into a place where we think it will never change. I don’t agree with that.”
IMPD reports that homicides this year are down compared to the same time last year, but those numbers remain significantly higher than any other year prior to 2020.