INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 15, 2015) – Four bodies have fallen on the south side of the Butler-Tarkington community since early August.
One of the dead was a 10-year-old boy. The most recent, Malik Perry, 19, was found in an alley west of 41st Street and Byram Avenue Tuesday night.
A group of older neighbors, they refer to themselves as OGs, Original Gangsters, due to their longtime residence and sometimes shaky pasts, have joined forces to become WADE, Working Against Devils Every day. They told Fox 59 News they have been successful in negotiating a ceasefire in the trouble-plagued area.
“It’s going back and forth, this area with another area, ‘You take one of mine, I take one of yours.’ It’s gotten too far out of hand, way out of hand,” said Anthoney Hampton as he walked the alley where Perry died. “I had a chance to talk with one of the older guys from the other area that has a lot to do with these homicides and we came to a truce. He spoke to his younger guys over there, told them enough is enough. I’ve reached out to a couple guys that are a couple years younger than me and talked to the younger guys, I’ve reached out to the family members in the area to talk to the guys, and I’ve had guys calling from prison and saying this has to stop, enough is enough.”
The truce Hampton brokered was confirmed by the leader of one of the rival crews who told Fox 59 News that contrary to the theories of IMPD investigators, the recent bloodshed stemmed from a fight on the midway of the Indiana State Fair that left an Indiana State trooper injured in August, about the time the tit-for-tat shootings began.
“We’re hoping that it lasts forever,” said Hampton. “We’re hoping that the loss of this young man’s life is enough. We can only take it day-by-day of course.”
Day-by-day may be enough if WADE can walk the pavement north of 38th Street and West of Illinois Street until Sunday when a peace rally encompassing the entire community will be held in Butler-Tarkington Park.
“Well, we do definitely need the people of the northside of the Butler-Tarkington community,” said Damon Lee. “We are all one neighborhood. The neighborhood, they are all involved in it, too, and the crime is starting to inch closer to their side of the neighborhood. We’re right across the street from them, so it is time for them to step up to the table and join us.”
Construction is already underway on a $5 million park upgrade.
“We have to do something and we have to do it now. It seems like every time we have a newscast, someone else dies,” said Wallace Nash who called for a recreational center to be built to provide year round activities for the neighborhood children. “And give them something good and positive. You are a product of your environment. If this is all they see then this is all they’ll be.”
Hampton said he feels like he’s living in, “one of those countries with ISIS in it,” where killing seems wanton.
“I had a young lady tell me like there’s not enough alpha males to deal with these young wolves,” said Hampton.