‘He was the peacemaker’: Indy family blames lifelong friend for 2017 murder

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — If last year set a record for homicides in Indianapolis, the killing of Johnny Woods was a murder milestone.

Woods’ killing downtown was murder #100 of 2017.

A year later the killer is still on the loose, but maybe not for much longer.

“This was him the last night in the club,” said Lynnita Smith. She displayed a photo of herself in Woods’ arms inside Taps & Dolls on South Meridian Street. He was celebrating his pending 35th birthday two days later.

“We was all hanging with family and friends just kind of bringing his birthday in because we all knew he had to work that weekend ,so we was just out enjoying ourselves,” said Woods’ fiancé. “Then on our way to the car, and he sees one of his old friends and they exchange words, so I’m just going to get my car, and by the time I turn around I hear shots fired and I just seen my baby laying there on the ground.”

Witnesses told police they saw a man with dreadlocks and red shirt take off in a dark colored Chevy pick up truck.

Detectives were given the killer’s nickname.

“Don’t nobody know why,” said Smith. “Everybody just know who it was.”

Woods was planning to marry his longtime girlfriend and accepted her daughters as his own.

“If it was about school he would be like think about what you want to be when you get older. Think about what career you want to have,” recalled Lynnisha Smith.

“He was the peacemaker. He was the person who would give you advice about anything,” said Lynnita who then asked the killer, “What made you wanna do something like this? I just want to know why? What was on your mind? What led up to you pulling out a gun to do what you did?”

The detective assigned Woods’ case told FOX59 News he’s in negotiations with the suspects’ family to bring about a peaceful surrender.

If you have any information about the killing of Johnny Woods or the whereabouts of his killer, call Crimestoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.