INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – After a violent weekend when seven people were shot to death and several others wounded in Marion County, Mayor Joe Hogsett publicly unveiled the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center in an attempt to remove serial shooters off city streets.
“You can’t help but be discouraged about weekends that we just experienced but I am encouraged by the progress that we are making,” said Hogsett who is facing re-election in November and touted the millions of dollars he has poured into community crime fighting and IMPD improvements. “And while weekends like last weekend or this past weekend are extraordinarily difficult….the month of March, we had weeks go by without a homicide, and yet this past weekend our community experiences tragically six homicides. So I take great hope in the types of investments that have been made over these three and a half years. I do believe they already are paying great dividends and will continue to pay great dividends.”
Thus far this year, 41 homicide victims have died of gunshot wounds in Indianapolis at a pace ahead of last year’s record murder tally. There have been at least 113 non-fatal shooting victims since January 1.
“Our focus is on the most violent individuals in our community,” said IMPD Deputy Chief Chris Bailey. “Those people that we can connect the dots to that have been involved in at least two shooting incidents whether they hit somebody or not. They are violent. They are using their illegally possessed weapon for violence in our community and they must be dealt with.”
IMPD has enhanced its evidence collection procedures in the field, accessed federal data banks and local forensic services to better compare spent shell casings and bullets with guns connected to other crimes, returned to neighborhoods to look for evidence and follow up with tipsters and gathered detectives together on a daily basis to examine links to known offenders.
“Every day at 10 a.m. all the people in a room right down the hallway here get together and discuss all the leads,” said Bailey. “They divvy up the caseloads and they go to work trying to find the people responsible for it.”
Bailey said better casework and intelligence gathering improves the odds of success once state and federal prosecutors go to court.
U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said last year federal agents traced more than 8,000 guns used in crimes in Indiana with half of the cases originating in Marion County.
Already, CGIC investigations have led to 38 arrests and the removal of 28 guns off the streets of Indianapolis since opening the center in January.