INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 21, 2015) – An Indianapolis pastor tries to raise awareness about the ongoing problem of gun violence in the city, but the homicide rate keeps going up after a 10-year-old boy is gunned down over the weekend.
Pastor John Girton is two weeks into his month-long camp out at 30th and MLK. During that time, he has planted eight crosses and will soon put down a ninth. Each cross is a painful reminder about a life lost.
“It hurts our heart, but God said there would be days like this,” said pastor John Girton with Christ Missionary Baptist Church.
Two weeks ago, Girton began camping in a tent to raise awareness about the city’s ongoing fight against violent crime.
On Sept. 5, the day after Girton began his camp out, a man was stabbed to death on North Gale. The victim’s brother, Santos Ramos, is now accused of the murder.
This weekend, 10-year-old DeShaun Swanson died after someone shot up a house on Graceland. The boy's death makes it the ninth homicide in just the last two weeks.
Pastor Girton admits he doesn’t have all the solutions to stop the crimes. His goal is simply to start a discussion.
“You know we’re not here to talk about gangs or guns. We’re here to talk about hopelessness, because that’s what leads someone to pick up a weapon. So we want to give hope,” said Girton.
Despite the violence, homicides this year are actually down in Indianapolis. So far the city has seen 95 murders this year. Last year at this same time there were 103 homicides in the city.
Still, despite the violence, pastor Girton continues to spread a message of hope and he’s encouraged by the countless people who stop by to sign banners in support of the cause.
“We’re going to keep on talking about it and raising awareness and challenge people so this doesn’t continue. We can use tragedy and turn it into triumph if we really want to,” said Girton.
Because many of the recent murders remains unsolved, anyone with information on any of the city's unsolved homicides is asked to come forward and contact Crime Stoppers or IMPD.