Pair of July 4th murders remain unsolved in Indy one year later

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- For many people, July 4 means cookouts and fireworks, but it's a day of mourning for two Indiana families.

Exactly one year ago, a 15-year-old and a 57-year-old died from gun violence on opposite ends of town.

Both cases remain unsolved.

Police say a chaotic gunfight involving dozens of shots at the West Lake apartment complex last year in the early morning hours of July 4, 2017, left a car riddled with bullets.  Two victims were hit by gunfire.

One of the victims survived, but Abdul Cross, a football player from South Bend, died.

Just hours later, in an alley on the near east side, police were called after another man was found shot to death.

Steven Smith and his wife made the gruesome discovery in the alley just a few feet behind their home. The 57-year-old victim was later identified as Leroy Ruffin. Smith has spent the last year wondering what led to the killing.

"I don’t think anybody wants to wake up and find a body in the alley next door to them.  It would be nice to have some kind of closure," he said.

Cross, the 15-year-old football player, had just finished his freshman year and is buried under a headstone celebrating his love of the gridiron.

In all, 2017 saw 22 homicides in Indianapolis involving victims 18 years and under.  Nine of those cases, including Cross’, remain unsolved.

Smith, who didn’t know any of those victims, says residents need to play a role speaking up to keep the city safe.

"At some point people need to realize they need to help solve the situation.  If you see something, say something," he said.

Anyone with information on any unsolved homicide is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

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