INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Detectives aren’t yet certain what Evans Johnson and Jessica Downey were doing in the vicinity of 23rd and Adams Streets the night before Thanksgiving, but whatever it was, they paid for the excursion with their lives.
Johnson listed a home address in Camby in extreme southwest Marion County. Downey was from rural Vincennes. They were found shot to death miles away in an east side neighborhood known for drug dealing and violence.
“We do have a big problem on North District with people using these landmark locations to come down here to buy dope from outside the county, Hendricks County, Hamilton County, Hancock County, because they know they can get dope in these neighborhoods and we gotta try to change that,” said IMPD District Commander Chris Bailey.
The killings of Johnson and Downey happened just blocks from Bailey’s post.
Investigators say recent high-profile drug raids, and everyday pressure applied by district narcs like those working for Commander Bailey, have disrupted entrenched drug operations and taken guns and money off the streets, leading dealers to more violence and users to even riskier behavior to feed their addictions.
“These guns in the hands of felons, in the hands of drug dealers, in the hands of people who should not possess any kind of weapon, we’re getting guns everyday out of these houses when we interact with these folks,” said Bailey. “To me that is a bigger impact when we talk about violent crime because every gun we take out of the hands of a felon or a person who is not supposed to have a gun, in my opinion whether I’m able to prove it or not, we prevent a violent crime in this city.”
On Nov. 17, 700 FBI agents, local police and ISP troopers raided 40 locations in search of 23 suspects indicted in a massive methamphetamine conspiracy stretching from Indianapolis to Sinaloa, Mexico.
Along with 15 pounds of meth and $55,000 cash, investigators seized 70 guns.
Authorities arrested a man they believed to be the cartel’s main operator in Indianapolis while taking off another dealer Bailey said he recalled chasing during his days as a narcotics detective nearly ten years ago.
And while IMPD now regularly touts the type of drug, weapons and cash seizures that were typical and unreported just a year ago, Bailey said investigators are frustrated by the return of suspects to their neighborhoods in the days after the busts.
“We have over 220 open complaints just on North District alone of people that the neighborhood believes they are selling narcotics.”
Fliers urging witnesses to call Crimestoppers about the Johnson and Downey murders are already up on stop signs and abandoned houses on North Adams Street.
Just blocks away, detectives are also investigating the shootings of a man and a woman in the 1900 block of Dearborn Street where violence and drugs are also common plagues.