Weekend violence involving several teens shines light on growing problem in Marion County

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Teen violence is a growing problem across central Indiana.

“I have been noticing a trend certainly increasing nationally and unfortunately in Indianapolis,” said Kimble Richardson, a licensed mental health counselor at Community Health.

With that trend, both the suspects and the victims continue to get younger. In just the past few days, at least half a dozen teens were shot in Marion County.

On Saturday, police arrested a 14-year-old boy after investigators say he shot up a birthday party in Lawrence. One teen was shot in the face and is in critical condition and investigators believe more than one teen fired those gunshots.

“I do not want this to be the new normal. I want this to be unusual,” said Richardson.

Richardson says the trend in younger criminals may be connected to the violence they see around them at home, including on video and social media.

“I think people’s environment definitely affects your attitudes. What you think is normal and someone who is around violent situations in their house or neighborhood might think that is the okay way to get revenge off and that is a problem,” said Richardson.

Just last month, police say a 13-year-old boy shot a student and a teacher at Noblesville West Middle School. The suspect is so young that under current state law a child 13 years of age can only be waived to adult court if someone is killed.

Richardson says sometimes kids turn to violence because of inner struggles and the importance of talking with your teen about those issues can help curb the violence.

“I think that mental health reasons have something to do with all of these things. Whether is it anxiety, depression, difficulty, controlling anger or managing impulses. All of that has a factor,” said Richardson.