INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Mayor Joe Hogsett was clearly troubled as he stepped to the microphone at a morning peace rally sponsored by the Irvington Association of Ministers.
“A young man died in one of our neighborhoods as the result of senseless gun violence. He was 18,” said the mayor who paused as if he had said enough but clearly didn’t because there was more to the story. “A young man died in one of our neighborhoods as the result of senseless gun violence,” Hogsett continued. “He was 13.”
Hogsett was recounting two killings, about an hour apart, Saturday night, one on the westside, the other on the northside, that pushed Indianapolis’ murder total higher, though below 2016’s record tally.
Seven times this year Metro homicide detectives have investigated the gunshot killings of victims under the age of 18.
Shortly after nine p.m., in the 4100 block of Vinewood Avenue, it was an 18-year-old man who was found shot to death.
An hour later, in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant near Castleton Square Mall on East 82nd St, a 13-year-old boy was fatally shot in the head.
Witnesses, many of them young teens, reported a fight with several people, two or three gunshots and male fleeing with a gun.
“Going to Long John Silver’s ought to be a safe place to go to,” said Dian Foreman of Indiana Black Expo. “That’s their reality now.”
Foreman was surrounded by 500 youngsters and parents at the Indianapolis Colts Training Facility for the Circle City Classic Youth Football and Cheer Clinic.
Kids ran on the turf vacated by the pros who were in Los Angeles to open the NFL season.
While college coaches put young players and cheerleaders through drills, parents like Glenn Hall watched from the sidelines and pondered the lessons learned from the camp and the tragedy in Castleton.
“Wrong place at wrong time,” said Hall. “That’s why you want to keep your children in a positive environment doing things, staying busy, you want to stay involved in the school with sports and education.”
Hall’s two sons worked out while their little sister watched.
“That’s sad, that’s very sad,” said Hall as he thought about the loved ones who lost children Saturday night. “My heart goes out to the family. No one wants to lose their child.”
Clinic organizer Foreman reflected on the losses and the shock her adult children registered when they recognized the names of other recent murder victims.
“We as parents have to be equipped and be in tune and understand that’s their reality,” she said. “So how are we supporting them to not only be involved in the programs but just making sure to check in with our kid?”
Coaches, parents, IBE and the Colts did the best they could Sunday afternoon to fill that void while homicide detectives continued their investigations.