Man’s death in possible home invasion brings Indy to verge of deadly record

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An Indianapolis man was murdered during an apparent home invasion early Tuesday morning.

That murder leaves Indianapolis on the verge of breaking the all-time record for murders in a single year.

The crime took place near 465 and Rockville road on Indy’s west side.

Just after midnight, police were called to the scene and found a 52-year-old man dead inside his own home from multiple blunt force injuries, a fact that left neighbors stunned and angry.

“I’m really mad they would take someone that good away from us,” said neighbor Robert Smiddy.

Robert says the victim, James Thornton, lived alone and didn’t have a serious criminal record and was always willing to help his neighbors

“If you walked into his house and were hungry, he’d give the food off his plate. That’s why this is so confusing because I don’t know why someone would do this to such a generous guy like that,” said Smiddy.

Police say the death appears to be the result of a home invasion, but did not have any suspect information to release.

Less than one month ago, Sharan Shepherd was shot to death at the apartment complex directly across the street. Those two killings and many more have brought the total number of criminal homicides in Indianapolis to 148. That is just one shy of the record 149 murders the city saw last year.

It’s a disappointing number to everyone, including the IMPD.

“All of those numbers have family. There are people attached to these numbers,” said IMPD Sgt. Chris Wilburn.

In the death of Sharan Shepherd, her family believes a friend was responsible for that killing. No arrests have been made in connection to the overnight home invasion. Neighbors hope that changes soon.

"Right now all I can think is they need to find out whoever did it. It’s not fair to all of us who knew him,” said Smiddy.

As always, anyone with information on the homicide is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.