16-year-old known as a community leader in multiple programs shot, critically injured

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A 16-year-old is fighting for his life after a shooting on the east side happened Friday.

People closest to him say there’s a serious problem impacting youth that needs to be addressed.

The number of teens Allison Luthe knows that have been impacted by gun violence continues to climb.

“It’s way too familiar,” said Luthe.

As Executive Director of the MLK Center, she’s doing what she can to put a stop to it.

“It is heartbreaking,” Luthe added, “We can only do so much.”

The most recent tragedy is a 16-year-old named Quintez Tucker - an energetic, outgoing teen that’s known for being a leader.

“I would say if we had a Mr. Congeniality award, he would win it. Everybody loves him,” Luthe described.

Quintez is fighting for his life at the hospital after a shooting Friday near 21st and Mitthoeffer Road.

“This is not just a youth problem, this is not a black problem, it’s not a far east side problem, this is a community problem,” said Luthe. “Sometimes you can do everything right and be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Quintez did what he could to stay out of trouble as a member of multiple organizations; groups that show teens there are other options.

At the MLK Center, he was part of the Tarkington Teen Work Crew, picking up trash and working at the park.

Quintez was a player with the Indy Steelers football team and a part of the Bloom Project, once serving as a panelist for a youth forum.

Brandon Randall, the Program Director at the Bloom Project said in a statement:

"I wanted to send a quick statement regarding Quintez Tucker. I have been the Program Director for the Bloom Project for almost six years and have had the opportunity to work with Quintez and his family for at least half of that time. Since he joined the Bloom Project, Quintez has always been an energetic, outgoing young man. He has participated in many of our programs and events, taking center stage at the Kings Feast Symposium and a panelist at the TruDialogue Youth Forum. Quintez has always showed a desire to do more in the community. Outside of the Bloom Project, he’s a part of many of other organizations and initiatives. He’s hardworking, shows compassion for others, and takes charge.

The point of explaining all of this is to counter the narrative around youth; specifically, young Black males. It is important to highlight their leadership and center their voices in all aspects of media, youth-serving organizations, and community-based programming. We as adults have a responsibility to show the world the positives that these young men demonstrate and make sure their voices are heard.

Quintez is an asset that this community needs to know about, and his face is one of a true changemaker that the city needs to support."

“We just need to make sure that programs like this are available to any kid that wants to be in it,” said Luthe.

The MLK Center aims to provide kids with the tools they need to succeed.

“If they’re worried where the food is going to come from or they see the stress of their parents not being able to work full-time or not being able to pay the rent, that’s something the community center can do to try wrap around those services,” said Luthe.

Luthe says it’s a complicated problem, that will take an entire community effort to fix.

“There are people figuring out what they’re going to buy their kid for Christmas and what’s the best item they can give, then there are other families trying to figure out how to keep their kids alive,” Luthe added.

Friends close with the family say Quintez is slowly recovering in the hospital.

Click the links for more on the MLK Center and Bloom Project’s efforts to keep teens out of trouble.

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