INDIANAPOLIS — Five people have been arrested in connection with four recent homicides in Indianapolis.
According to court records, the motives for the four murders were different, but what the cases have in common is the cooperation of witnesses.
Eric Preer died last Friday as he worked a job to support his mother and two young daughters. He was shot in the back while behind the counter at a smoke shop.
“My brother lost his life for nothing and now we’re left to pick up the pieces,” said the victim’s sister Erin Preer.
An affidavit claims 21-year-old Jalen Frierson walked into the shop to commit a robbery and shot the victim without warning.
Police believe a second suspect stood at the door while two women stayed in a getaway car outside.
Both of those women later helped identify Frierson.
“I think they went in there to do something ignorant and now they’ve taken someone away from his family,” said Erin.
The suspect who stood in the doorway was identified as Hakeem Jackson. He was arrested for various felony charges related to the case.
Police claim a covert robbery officer had recently been investigating a series of robberies at smoke shops. That officer responded to an apartment on 39th Street, which was believed to be connected to the other robberies, when he saw the suspects vehicle pull into the complex.
Officers eventually tried to stop the vehicle, but the driver tried to speed away before crashing on the interstate.
Two days after the killing on College, police claim an argument at a home on Gray Street led to a deadly shooting. Witnesses inside that home told police 19-year-old David Villanueva committed the crime.
Police also arrested two juvenile teens, 16 and 17-years-old, following a deadly shooting last week on West St. Clair Street.
A drug deal last November along 38th Street that left one man dead resulted in the arrest of 28-year-old Thomas Watson.
In that case a friend of the victim helped identify the accused killer. Text messages between the suspect and victim also helped police solve the case.
“I think the community is standing up and saying they’re tired of people using gun violence as a means to intimidate,” said IMPD officer William Young.
Police insist the arrests prove that collaboration with the community is key to bringing justice to families like Eric Preer’s.
“The detectives can’t do it alone. They’re only as good as the info given to them by the community,” said Young.
“There are so many families that don’t get this type of closure and we’re just thankful and I hope and pray all the families get this kind of justice,” said Erin.
All five suspects are being held without bond pending the filing of formal charges.