INDIANAPOLIS, IND. — Recently, Indy’s City of Peace Coalition got approval from the Mayor’s Office and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) for their recommended tactics to combat violence. The city saw a Friday full of violence across Indy just days following the approval.
“It’s going to take time to mobilize the community all around Indianapolis. It’s not going to change overnight,” says Coalition leader Reverend Charles Harrison, “It’s going to take several months to get things operational.”
On the south side, two people were shot at an apartment complex on Sandra lane. Emergency crews pronounced one of the victims dead at the scene. Later, police got in a short pursuit with a vehicle that fled the scene. The vehicle stopped, and a third person was found shot inside.
Elsewhere, IMPD responded to a call at an apartment complex on Hosbrook Street. They discovered a man had been shot and killed. Neighbors began spreading the information around their North Square neighborhood.
“One of my business partners let me know. He heard on the street here was a murder over here,” says Mike Angel who lives and owns a business nearby, “[North Square is] a peaceful island away from Fountain Square generally. We go out on walks and patrol. There should be some kind of safety system when something like that happens. There should be some kind of alert at least.”
Angel says the majority of his information comes from word of mouth, or from using the Citizens Safety App that can show crimes in the area.
“It could took some digging to find out what’s going on in my neighborhood,” Angel explains.
He says the last time shots were fired in that area was during the winter at a nearby park.
“I would encourage them to get involved, encourage them to contact their district commander,” answers Reverend Harrison when asked what he recommends people do in the neighborhoods of these recent shootings.
On Friday night, Reverend Harrison and the rest of the Peace Coalition formed a peace walk near 29th street and MLK.
“We have had a lot of aggravated assaults, a lot of shots fired calls,” Reverend Harrison says of the area.
“I’m out here today in honor of my son Chad Smitherman,” adds Lisa Smitherman who joined the peace walk, “He was brutally murdered on February 14, 2020. He was one of the first twenty homicides here in Indianapolis. It’s just a feeling that no parent should bear. Parents aren’t supposed to bury their children. We are supposed to go first.”
Smitherman is imploring parents to speak with their children and communicate that there is too much violence.
“Just because they are grown doesn’t mean they don’t still need guidance from Mom and Dad,” Smitherman says.
So far, Chad Smitherman’s case remains unsolved.
“We need young people who know these individuals who are committing these acts of violence to go to their fellow brother, fellow sister, and say, ‘Hey gun violence is not the way to solve a problem,” explains Aaron Williams with the City of Peace Coalition.