INDIANAPOLIS – In the basement armory of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department are barrels and boxes of confiscated guns. Shotguns. Semi-automatic assault rifles. Pistols. Weapons with altered serial numbers. Guns destined for dismantling and the smelter.
Except for a few dozen with parts that will utilized in a memorial to victims of violence in Marion County.
“What this sculpture is made of is some of the guns that were used in the crimes and even some of the homicides that were committed in Marion County,” said Sheriff John Layton. “The guns have been destroyed and these are just tidbits and pieces of those guns that have been destroyed that are making up the actual peace bird that you see here.”
Mounted on a pedestal in the sheriff’s conference, but destined for a library or a school or a public place soon, is a two foot high model of a peace dove. Its wings extended, its body made up of barrels and grips and trigger housings. A replica of a larger sculpture is soon to be created.
“These guns were taken off the street by very brave IMPD officers, sheriff’s deputies and other officers throughout Marion County,” said Layton. “I want to do this for the families of those victims. Maybe we can find a place of solace where they can actually gather around the peace dove in remembrance of the one they loved.”
Layton and his faith-based community partners will raise $25,000 for the full-scale sculpture to be created by Indianapolis Firefighter Ryan Feeney.
“These aren’t just stolen guns. These were actually guns used in crimes themselves, crimes that hurt people, guns that murdered people.”
In two of IMPD’s six districts Wednesday police conducted 14 gun-related investigations including shots fired, threats, arrests and the report of and recovery of stolen guns.
“I don’t know how many times we’ve had large amounts of guns stolen from different locations,” said Layton, “whether it be in a residence or whether it be in gunshops themselves but they do end up in the hands of criminals.”
The burglary of a Clermont gunstore in late March resulted in the theft of approximately 25 guns. Many of those firearms are suspected in the area of West 35th Street west of Martin Luther King Jr. Street where sources tell Fox 59 News that federal agents and local police have been searching for the missing weapons.
“If there’s a stolen gun out there in the possession of someone with harm in their minds, then that gun is exactly what we need to get off the street,” said Layton as he examined the peace dove model. “These guns are part of those guns.”
Downtown Indianapolis was awash in legal guns, on display and holstered, during the NRA convention this past weekend. NRA members were permitted to carry their weapons at the Indiana Convention Center and throughout downtown where past weekends have been marred by the presence of unsupervised teenagers.
IMPD reports that on the Saturday nights of April 5, 12 & 19th, hundreds of juveniles were reported at Circle Centre and bus stops on Ohio Street at the Federal Courthouse where police responded to fights, gunfire and the recovery of a gun.
This past weekend, as 70,000 NRA attendees packed the city’s core, IMPD confirmed that 100 juveniles dispersed peacefully Saturday night and that no significant problems were reported and that there were no convention-related incidents.