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Dozens turn out for prayer vigil at side of quadruple murder

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Dozens of people attended a prayer vigil Friday evening at the site of a quadruple murder on Indianapolis’ southside.

Members of the neighborhood Church of Acts near I-65 and Keystone Avenue and Young Men, Inc., a predominantly African American youth group, gathered to pray in the front yard of 3432 South Parker Avenue where four people were murdered February 20th during a drug robbery.

The house was owned by Walter Burnell who died along with another man and two young women in an attempted robbery that escalated to murder when Burnell refused a gunman’s demands.

Cody Rackemann is housed inside the Marion County Jail, along with another man, Anthony LaRussa, and two other women and charged with the crime. He could face the death penalty.

Friends of both victims and suspects attended the vigil.

Pastor Bill Jenkins of Church of Acts reminded the crowd that, “crime knows no color,” and that as a metropolitan family, all of Indianapolis must join together in the fight against crime no matter what part of the city if impacts.

Reverend Malachi Walker often attends prayer vigils at murder scenes in Indianapolis’ inner city but said it was important to bring the message of forgiveness and prayer to the far southside.

Quoting another minister, Walker said, “If drive-by shootings can kill, drive-by prayers can heal.”

Today Mayor Greg Ballard, the Marion County Prosecutors Office and IMPD will hold a Gang Prevention & Intervention Workshop at Renaissance School at 8931 East 30th Street from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The workshop is aimed at parents and teens to warn them of the signs of gang involvement and alternative solutions.

Next week Mayor Ballard and Public Safety Director Troy Riggs are expected to kick off their so-called community conversations about crime in Indianapolis. Riggs has likened it to holding a conversation around the dinner table citywide as churches, schools, community groups and families weigh in on the causes and solutions to Indianapolis’ crime issues.

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