City leaders encouraged by community coming forward to help solve Indy criminal cases

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Like many of us, Chief Bryan Roach and Mayor Joe Hogsett are still upset over the deadly shootings that killed three children in Indianapolis on Friday and Saturday.

Friday, siblings Nicholas and Ashlynn Nelson were found shot to death in their east side apartment. One day later, a shooting on the near north side left a 3-month-old baby dead.

Chief Roach spoke specifically about the deaths of the siblings during a public safety walk on the near north side on Wednesday evening. He said Friday morning started for the Nelson children in the same way it does for children across the city.

"Tragic, right," Roach said. "15 and 16-year-old siblings getting ready, preparing for school. Just something that you don't even think would happen."

A 15-year-old was arrested in this case and charged with murder. Because he is a juvenile and is not being charged as an adult at this time, FOX59 is choosing not to identify him. But sources say the teen's mother coerced him into coming forward.

"It's got to be devastating for a mother to go through that and then present her son to the police," Roach empathized.

Mayor Hogsett verbalized what people have told FOX59 at many shooting scenes.

"What's going on is disputes often turn into, the conflict resolution tends to be a gun too often today," Hogsett said. "That's the culture we're trying to change."

Officers said the way the community came forward following the murders was a relief and a help to them.

"Public safety cannot, must not be the responsibility of the police department alone," Hogsett added. "It really does take a community to come together, and that's why as tragic as these circumstances were last weekend, I do find some solace in the fact that we seem to be experiencing more people in the community coming forward and offering information."

Chief Roach said the city is seeing the witness assistance program pay off in a big way as well. That program ensures witnesses feel safe and have the means to help police solve cases in our city.

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