‘A trying night for our city’ Indy sees rash of deadly shootings within short time span

Crimetracker

INDIANAPOLIS — The record year for homicides in Indianapolis is not slowing down.

Homicide detectives with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, already facing an overwhelming number of homicide cases, added three more investigations to their caseload Friday.

The shootings happened within the span of four hours Friday at three locations. The shootings left three people dead and one person fighting for their life.

“No one, absolutely no one should have to go through this,” Officer William Young with the IMPD said. “No family member, no parent, no grandparent should have to worry about their loved one being hurt.”

The rash of violence started just after 6 p.m. in the 1600 block of North Exeter Avenue. Joseph Wilson, 33, was found dead in that shooting, and a SWAT unit was called in after officers thought they heard someone inside. A search did not reveal any suspects.

A little more than three hours later, police responded to two deadly shootings in the span of an hour.

One of the deadly shootings took place just before 9 p.m. in the 2700 block of North Parker Avenue. A man later identified as Randall Jenkins, 18, was pronounced dead at that scene.

The double shooting took place just after 9 pm in the 2000 block of Roosevelt Avenue. Romell Howard, 32, was pronounced dead and another critically wounded in that shooting.

“It’s a very trying time,” Officer Young said. “I’ve said this before. I’ve been in front of you numerous times this year. We have got to figure out a way to figure out how to resolve conflict resolution without picking up a handgun in front of somebody.”

Besides the deadly shootings, police are also investigating a shooting that left a woman in critical condition Friday night. That shooting took place in the 6400 block of Maidstone Road just after 9:50 p.m.

Police say they are relying on the community to work with them not only to solve Friday’s shootings but to come together to hold those who can’t understand how to resolve conflict responsible.

“This city, I know we can do better. We will be better,” Officer Young said. “It’s been a very trying time. It’s been a trying time for our officers. It’s a trying time for our community. We want to collaboratively come together with the community, hold those accountable who are responsible, those trigger pullers, or whoever can’t understand how to resolve conflict. It’s important.”

Kerry Buckner, a homicide lieutenant with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, said the number of cases they are facing can at times get overwhelming. He says while they didn’t get any more people in the unit, they are investigating more cases than in 2019. For some investigators, this means they may be working double the cases than they are used to.

“You want to give your all to every case because everyone is a victim no matter what they were doing when they got killed,” Buckner said. “It’s up to us to try to figure out what happened and we’re swimming upstream trying to get people to help us be good witnesses.”

At the same time, Buckner says it is often difficult to get people to talk. The investigators have to do a lot of follow-ups, as people do not want to be seen talking to the police.

“It’s a battle, this job is definitely a battle and with the amount of murders we’re having, I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t think anybody does,” Lt. Buckner said.

Even as the record number of homicides in Indianapolis increases, Lt. Buckner said they will continue to do their best to bring justice for the victims.

“We’re gonna keep plugging on,” Lt. Buckner said. “If they keep happening, we’re gonna keep investigating them.”

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