The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office will attempt to track down the origin and ownership of three guns found in an SUV in the parking garage below the JW Marriott Hotel where a teenager was fatally wounded Sunday.
Darnell Franklin, 17, was shot in the back by a bullet inadvertently fired by a friend in the backseat of the vehicle, according to IMPD homicide detectives.
The other boy, also 17 years old, has been charged with reckless homicide. He is being housed at the Marion County Juvenile Center pending a waiver hearing Tuesday to send his case to criminal court.
“There will be a history taken and we will go back to the last time that we can find that the weapons were legitimately in the stream of commerce,” said Chief Deputy Prosecutor David Rimstidt. “We do check upstream to see if the last person sold it to a friend or sold it to the person who is now in possession of it.”
Such prosecutions, either at the state or federal level, in Indianapolis are rare.
Six young people, between the ages of 17 and 20 years, were in the vehicle at 3 a.m. Sunday. None of them could legally purchase a gun but could possess one if they had a permit.
The two 17 year olds were also technically in violation of the city’s 1 a.m. curfew.
“I’m looking into curfew possibilities, what we can do at the state level her in downtown Indianapolis,” state Senator Mike Delph told Fox59 News in the wake of a July 4 shooting that claimed the life of Monquize Edwards, 16, after a fireworks celebration that included several brawls among young people downtown.
“I’m also looking at something to deal with parental or guardian accountability. We should not allow young people to roam the streets of Indianapolis unsupervised. It is a recipe for disaster.”
By all accounts, this past Saturday night’s Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration was the safest and most low-key in several years.
“We saw grandfathers, grandmothers, we saw parents with their children,” said IMPD Chief Rick Hite. “I heard one parent make very clear to a child that, ‘I’m with you. We’re going to be here all night. When we leave, you’re going to leave with me.’
“The message is simple: this is a good city. You don’t embarrass the city. You don’t embarrass yourself. You don’t embarrass your family.”
While Darnell Franklin’s family struggles to raise the money to bury the teenager, his mother delivered an on-camera message to the parents and children of Indianapolis.
“I need these children to stop killing each other because its getting ridiculous,” said Traci Love. “Please parents, just help and stop your children. Help. Help. Help in the situation that is going on. Everyday, somebody’s dying.”
Love’s son was the third Indianapolis teenager to die by gunfire this month.
“I have reality right here. My son’s gone. He’s not coming back no more. I’m never going to see him again,” said Love as she addressed the children of Indianapolis on Fox59 News. “If you don’t want to have your mom sitting somewhere like me because moms are the ones that are going to hurt forever until we’re not here anymore and if you want your mom to not be hurt or be sitting somewhere. trying to bury you, you need to stop. Please.”
Love’s plea has struck a chord as a number of pastors and mothers who have lost children to violence have reached out to her.
Chief Hite tells Fox59 News that his department is working on a plan to empower mothers in the frontline fight to curb youth violence.