Who killed Monica Pirtle? Family, activists push for justice in 2018 shooting death

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INDIANAPOLIS — A local family is pleading for justice in the 2018 deadly shooting of a beloved mother of three on Indianapolis’ east side.

Monica Pirtle was killed on July 16, 2018 in a double shooting in the 4000 block of Crabtree Court, just one day before she would have celebrated her 36th birthday.

“It’s still devastating to us that we still haven’t got justice,” said Monica’s mother, Pamela Wooden.

Family members said Monica had just returned from the movies with her boyfriend when the shooting happened in front of her home. The man was also injured, but survived the shooting.

“No words can describe that. You get a second call, that’s my second call that I got that someone had killed my child,” said Wooden, who has also lost another child in a shooting.”

“To get a second call, was so unbelievable,” she said.

For Monica’s family, the last three and a half years have been filled with many questions. Why did this happen? Who did this to her? They hope to get answers to these as they continue to push for justice in her case.

“When I tell people that my mom was murdered, and they ask, ‘oh my goodness what happened?’ I can’t really tell you what happened, I just know she was murdered,” said Monica’s oldest daughter, Javiona Pirtle.

At the time of the shooting, the youngest of Monica’s three daughters, Jeshia, was only 2. Her grandmother said Jeshia often asks questions about what happened to her mom.

“She knows her momma’s in heaven, but she wants to know why,” said Wooden.

As part of their quest for answers in Monica’s case, her family is teaming up with Justice for Michiana, a South Bend-based activism group that works with families of homicide victims to help share their stories and push for justice.

“If you know something, speak up. Not for Justice for Michiana, not for the news media, but for this mother, this child,” said Justice for Michiana President and Founder, Vernado Malone Sr.

Malone said the organization plans to create a documentary on Monica and her story in hopes of furthering the push for answers.

“Monica was killed unwillingly, unwanted, and leave her kids, her mother, her family to grieve,” he added.

Monica’s family said her death has been devastating to all who knew and loved her. Since she passed, she’s missed major milestones in the lives of her children and family.

“Her daughter’s first day of kindergarten, her middle daughter’s graduation day, it’s just been real devastating and sad,” said Wooden.

Monica also missed the birth of her daughter Javiona’s daughter, who was born in 2020. Javiona said her mother showed her how to be a compassionate, loving mom.

“She was this open person and she made you so comfortable to talk to her about anything,” said Javiona, who was just 18 at the time she lost her mother. She had just started college and was looking forward to decorating her apartment with the help of her mom.

“They didn’t just take my mother; they took my backbone. They took a huge part from all of us. She was our rock,” said Javiona. “If anything happened, something happened at school, I’d call my mom. It got to points where I will literally be in the store and be like, ‘what would my momma do?'”

While Monica’s family may not have all of the answers they hope to some day soon find out, they continue to treasure the memories they have. This year, they plan to celebrate her 40th birthday in her honor.

“My mom, she was a loving, caring person. She would literally be there for anybody and everybody. People were so comfortable with calling her when they needed help,” said Javiona.

Wooden said Monica’s youngest daughter, Jeshia, who she is now raising, reminds her of Monica. “Her youngest is goofy like her. Acts just like her,” said Wooden.

Monica’s memories live on through the art she created for her family. She was a talented artist and interior decorator, who painted all of the art on the walls of her mother’s home.

“She loved to create. A lot of times, we are in our family group together. If she was here she would have made our costumes or tell us how to dress,” said Wooden.

“She loved to decorate. Painting was her everything,” said Javiona.

Monica’s family and Justice for Michiana hope anyone with information on the case will do the right thing and come forward to tell investigators what they know.

“Coming forward will heal a lot of broken hearts. Not completely, but some,” said Javiona. “If you were in our shoes or it were to happen to you, you would want the answers.”

“Anyone that’s out that knows, come forward and tell the truth. Help us get justice for my daughter Monica’s life,” said Wooden.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call IMPD’s Homicide Office at (317) 327-3475.

Alternatively, you can also contact Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana anonymously at (317) 262-TIPS (8477). You may be eligible for a $1,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest.

Justice for Michiana will also contribute a $500 reward. You can call 574-999-6173, where you will also be kept anonymous. Any information shared with the group will also be shared with Crime Stoppers.

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