INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – It was a week ago on Sunday night when Joachim Rates pulled up into the 1500 block of Tina Marie Circle, a cul-de-sac on the far east side, to drop his cousin off at a girlfriend’s house.
Rates was driving a black Cadillac he had just purchased, a present to himself for his 18th birthday just a few days before.
He also had a new gun and a new cellphone and carried a wad of cash in his pocket and let friends know of his recent good fortune on social media.
It was at about 6 p.m. when a neighbor heard gunfire, saw two men run away, and Rates said to his cousin, “They got me,” as he was stretched out on the pavement next to his new car.
The teen was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
“This wasn’t random. It wasn’t random,” said Jeremiah Rates following a vigil and balloon release in his brother’s memory. “I just know somebody knows something, my little brother was followed or he was set up. That’s what it is.
“They took his wallet with his money in it, they took a nine millimeter pistol, and his life.”
IMPD homicide detectives took Rates’ phone to inquire as to who might know the teen was vulnerable and in that neighborhood that night.
As of this date, the percentage of young gun violence homicide victims in Indianapolis is the highest for the last three years.
So far this year, 18% of Indianapolis’ gunshot homicide victims were less than 20-years-old.
On this same date a year ago, that number was 11%.
It was 16% the year before that.
“It’s like these kids get these guns, and they just want to turn them on each other and kill each other,” said Tamika Duerson, Rates’ aunt. “My question is how are they getting these guns? How are they getting these guns, and how are they comfortable with just killing each other? How are you comfortable with taking another young man’s life or young woman’s life? How are you comfortable with that?
“I don’t want any retaliation so we need to stop…we need to stop as black people…we need to stop and put these guns away.”
Rates’ brother said when it comes to solving the murders of teenagers, it’s not snitching to provide tips that eventually get to detectives.
“You don’t have to tell the police. Tell your pastor. Tell your family. Tell something,” said Jeremiah Rates. “Your name doesn’t have to be on paperwork. Ain’t nobody too cool. If this is a life that you know, or somebody you know, or if this was you in this situation, you’d want somebody to come out and say something.”
Rates said he and his little brother were already traumatized by the murder of a cousin in 2013.
“Every time you pick up that gun and point it at somebody, you have somebody’s life in your hands and who are you? You’re not God. You’re not God.”
If you have any information on the murder of Joachim Rates on the far eastside last Sunday, call Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS. You can remain anonymous and be in line for a $1000 reward.