MUNCIE, Ind. – A Muncie teenager is arrested in connection with shooting and killing a 21-year-old man.
Martel Lavel Jones-Lampkins was found wounded in Heekin Park and sadly died three days later on June 25. This week, police arrested a 16-year-old boy for the deadly shooting.
“I’m horrified,” said Linda Hine, a neighbor.
Linda Hine is a mother of five boys. She lives right across the street from Heekin Park and admits she’s heard gunshots way too close to her home.
In Muncie’s two most recent homicides, juveniles have been arrested. On June 19, 22-year-old Montana Miquel Lopez was shot and killed near Ball State’s campus. In that case, a 15-year-old was arrested.
“The cases speak for themselves, they’re younger and younger with guns and violent crimes,” said Eric Hoffman, Delaware County prosecutor.
Hoffman believes early intervention is key and having tougher punishments for teens who get in trouble.
“Slapping them on the wrist and sending them back on the street is not the answer and if we keep doing that, we are going to be right where we are, if not worse,” said Hoffman.
Hoffman is working with other city and county leaders to develop programs to help teen learn to deal with conflict safely.
“If one kid has a problem with another kid, how are we going to sort this out? We don’t turn to guns and violence, that’s not the answer. That’s never the answer,” said Hoffman.
Hoffman warns if teens turn to guns and violence, they’ll be caught and face the consequences. The 16-year-old arrested for the Heekin Park homicide is now being prosecuted as an adult.
“I hope it sends a message and a strong one. If you’re 16 years old and you pull the trigger and kill someone, you’re going to be held accountable for what you did,” said Hoffman.
There have been 7 homicides so far this year in Muncie. Since both cases are still under investigation and involve juveniles, officials are not yet able to discuss details of the cases, such as motives and if the victims and suspects knew one another.