Teens aim to put an end to Indy gun violence

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By: James Gherardi

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 19, 2014) - As of this week, Indianapolis has hit 133 homicides a number well on its way towards beating last year's record breaking 147 homicides.

But Wednesday, an unlikely group was looking to put an end to the circle city's cycle of violence; its youth.

Teens at the Reach For Youth Headquarters near the Northeast side Wednesday didn't have to look very far for the signs that gun violence can have permanent, damaging, effects.

"When he was shot, this all had to be removed. They took the skull completely out,” said DeAndra Yates.

Yates knows all too well about the consequences of gun violence, "So for five and a half months, he didn't have a skull,” she said.

She's speaking about her 14 year old son.  He’s still recovering nine months later just taking his first steps, after being shot in the head at a 15 year old's birthday party.

"Here my son was 13 when this happened, he's 14 now, an athlete, all his stuff has been taken away from him,” she said.

His 8th grade year has been spent re-learning how to walk, eat, and live as normally as possible.

"It's just crazy that it could happen to somebody my age,” said Kirsten Patterson.

Patterson is in 8th grade too.

She chose to go to the Reach For Youth offices Wednesday though, where an attempt to end youth violence took center stage.  She was among a handful of teens who listened to a graphic presentation of the damaging, permanent effects gun violence can have.

"It just makes me want to get away and make sure I'm in the right crowd,” said Patterson.

"We're trying to teach these kids at a young age that their decisions do have consequences,” said Drew Wignall.

Wignall is the Deputy Marion County Prosecutor. He was onn hand Wednesday to drive home the message that a gunshot can have far more than just physical ramifications.

"A lot of these kids don't know that even if they're under the age of 18, they can end up going to adult court for certain gun crimes,” he said.

But kids, Wignall said who can curb the violent culture, captivating Indy, "Reach them at a young age and prevention is really the key here,” he said.