Officials call for end to youth violence following death of Warren Central students

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Community leaders in Indianapolis are calling for more action to curb youth violence following the death of a Warren Central High School senior.

Football star Dijon Anderson died Tuesday following a shooting on May 6 that also claimed the life of Angel Mejia-Alfaro and injured one other.

“[I feel] saddened, and disheartened, and angry,” said Rev. Charles Ellis, who works the Indy Ten Point Coalition. “I want to keep those emotions, because we don’t ever want to get used to this, this isn’t normal.”

Ellis said the root of the problem is the guns on the streets and the ease with which teens can get them. He said more needs to be done to stop the flow of guns onto the streets.

“I know it’s a hot button issue, however, nobody agrees with teens having guns,” said Ellis.

Indianapolis Deputy Mayor Dr. David Hampton (D) is focusing his efforts on reducing teen violence, and said he’s spoken with many teens about why they feel the need to carry guns.

“Most of what I’m hearing is that teens feel that they need to carry weapons for their own protection,” said Hampton.

Ellis says part of the solution is to get teenagers involved in meaningful activities. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett has also made a big push to get teens employed during the summer.

“We’re planning an array of successive events in hopes that this will be the start, but we really want to get at the root cause of the issue,” said Hampton.

Those events begin on June 17, where a youth empowerment day is planned downtown at Pan Am Plaza. Hampton said they are also planning other events throughout the summer. He is working with local school officials in neighborhoods where violence is prevalent, hoping that will provide another avenue through which to address the problem.