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Indy mayor, police chief respond to 8 murders in 12 hours

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INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 21, 2014) – Indianapolis leaders responded Friday to a span of violence that left eight people dead in about 12 hours.

The violent spree began around around 9:30 a.m. Thursday at a home in the 2100 block of N. Kenyon Street where a man was found dead. His death was ruled a homicide. At 5 p.m. Thursday, 16-year-old Quinton Nance was shot and killed in the 600 block of E. 23rd Street. Hours later, four people–later identified as Hayley Navarra, Kristy Mae Sanchez, Jacob Rodemich and Walter Burnell–were found shot to death inside a home in the 3200 block of South Parker Avenue on the southeast side. Around 12:45 a.m. Friday, Michael Whitfield and Lorenzo Clark, Jr. were fatally shot.

From Thursday morning through early Friday, IMPD said there were eight homicides.

Police Chief Rick Hite opened up the news conference by saying, “You got a Chief before you who’s a little upset today, because we have a situation in our community today where we have a few stubborn folk who just don’t get it.”

Hite said detectives were looking for “people of interest” in connection with the quadruple slaying, but said they had no information on suspects.

“None of us slept very well last night. Many of us had not slept at all.”

He added that none of the crimes were random and the victims most likely knew their assailants.

“If you’re involved in at risk behavior, often times you’re a victim,” he told members of the media.

According to IMPD, 89% of the suspects who police have identified this year have a criminal history. What’s surprising is that 71% of the victims did too. In fact, every single person murdered on Thursday had a previous run-in with the law. 27-year-old Michael Whitefield had been arrested more than 30 times before he was shot to death in a home on the 2400 block of Stuart Street.

“We have concerns when we have violent offenders who don’t serve their time; who do not get adequate sentences. We have to reiterate the fact that we can’t do catch and release. We’re serious about this. We’re gonna put them away, but we’re gonna need to make sure they stay locked up when we put them away,” said Hite and added a warning to those that know any suspects in Thursday’s homicides.

“If you aid and abet and assist them… then we have no choice but to arrest you too.”

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard released the following statement about the violence:

“The past few hours have been challenging for the city. Any death under these circumstances is tragic. While no one deserves to be a victim, initial reports indicate these were not random acts of violence. The victims knew their assailants. I have complete faith in the men and women of IMPD and know they will work diligently to identify all suspects and bring them to justice.”

Aishah Hasnie covered the news conference and will have more at 4 p.m. Her tweets: