INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (November 29, 2015) – A string of forlorn Christmas lights decorate a paint-challenged bannister leading upstairs from the ground floor of an eastside rooming house where two women were found murdered Saturday night.
India Barnes, 34, and Tomika “Fudge” Mack, 34, were discovered sprawled on the front room floor by another resident of the home in the 4100 block of East New York Street.
“I was upstairs watching TV, heard approximately five gunshots, came downstairs to investigate and looking downstairs I seen two people laying on the floor. At the time I didn’t know if they was dead or just hurt,” said one resident. “I just seen two people laying on the floor and seen a puddle of blood at the time. I didn’t know. I thought they just been hurt. I didn’t know they was dead. I didn’t find that out until I got to the police headquarters.”
The man and several other residents of the large two-story house were questioned for hours by IMPD Homicide detectives.
By mid-afternoon, one woman’s live-in boyfriend had not yet returned.
“My safety,” she said when asked about her biggest fear the day after the double killing. “My safety and where my husband’s at and what’s going on with him.”
The woman choked back tears as she recounted arriving home Sunday morning to find a floor soaked with blood.
She said she had been on her hands and knees for hours soaking up evidence of the killings.
“I found two pools of blood one on each side of the couch,” the resident said. “It clicked that something serious had happened in this house.”
Barnes and Mack appeared to be housemates, each with separate bedrooms, one off the front room, the other off the kitchen.
In Barnes’ room the television set still blared, turned on from the night before.
“India was a girl that lived in the room. She been in the house before I got here,” said the male resident who found the women after hearing the gunshots. “Fudge just came into the house. Her and her friend was supposed to be the property managers or building managers and that’s about the end of it right there.”
The woman who lived in a cramped bedroom with her boyfriend downstairs said Mack’s family members had stopped by Sunday morning to view the murder scene themselves.
“About five relatives came through in two separate settings,” she said. “The second set was her niece and I assume her niece’s girlfriend. They came through and said that they asked me where (Mack’s girlfriend) was and I told her, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know,’ and they said they aint been able to get ahold of her, she won’t answer the phone. To me it seems pretty odd…it seems pretty funny.”
The murders downstairs have both residents re-thinking the $100+ per month price they pay to live in bedrooms in such a house.
“I mean I didn’t know what to think,” said the man from upstairs. “I really didn’t know what to think. I couldn’t understand why it would happen. I don’t know why two people would end up shot and killed in here. We usually stick to ourselves and everybody’s usually friendly around here but this was just distressing.”
In 2014, Metro Homicide detectives investigated 135 homicides, a statistic that outraged police, politicians and residents.
Tomika Mack will be listed as IMPD homicide victim 136 this year. India Barnes will be 137.
And there’s still a month of 2015 to go.