‘I need to know why’: Grandmother pleads for answers after man killed in near west side shooting

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INDIANAPOLIS — The city of Indianapolis is on the verge of breaking another grim record when it comes to the total number of homicides in a given year.

According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, it has investigated 243 homicides since the start of 2021, including two deadly shootings that happened this past weekend.

The first took place in the 4200 block of Falcon Court Friday morning. IMPD said officers were dispatched to a death investigation and arrived to find a man who had been shot. According to police, the man was pronounced dead at the scene and his death was later ruled a homicide.

The victim has been identified as 18-year-old Vyshonn Harrington, according to the Marion County Coroner’s Office.

The next day, IMPD was called to the area of 20 Neal Avenue just before 7 p.m. for a report of a person shot. According to police, officers arrived and found a man in an alleyway who had been shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene by medics, police said.

The victim has been identified as 24-year-old Isaiah Luckett, whose family is calling for justice in his killing.

Effie Mays, Luckett’s grandmother, said she raised him from the time he was just 4 months old. She doesn’t understand who would hurt her grandson and wants those answers.

“Oh, it’s so hard on me right now,” said Mays. She questioned, “Why would you kill him? He didn’t carry a gun. He didn’t carry a knife. So, why would you kill my grandson?”

When asked how she would describe her grandson, Mays said three words repeatedly: loving, sharing and caring.

“He’d help anybody he could,” said Mays. “Isaiah would take the shirt off his back and give it to you if he could.”

Mays said Luckett had a younger brother and was also a twin. “She is torn apart,” she said.

Mays wanted FOX59 to share that Luckett battled with mental illness, but that he would never do anything to hurt another person. She’s hoping someone hears his story and will let police know anything that will help bring to justice the person who took her grandson’s life.

“There was no reason for them to kill him like a dog. That’s what I call it, you kill somebody like a dog, for what reason?” she asked. “You don’t have a heart. There’s something wrong there with your mind.”

Luckett’s killing marked homicide 243 of 2021 and came just several days after the city surpassed the record for the number of criminal homicides in a single year, which was previously 215.

“The community, they’re fed up when every night you have to turn on your TV and you see or read the newspaper and see somebody’s been unjustifiably killed due to gun violence,” said William Young, IMPD public information officer, as he spoke to news crews at the scene of the homicide on Neal Ave.

“We’ve seen a high number not just here in the Circle City of Indianapolis, but across the country, where folks have chose to use gun violence as a mean to resolve conflict resolution,” said Young.

“It’s no excuse. One life is too many to have to bear for families. It’s extremely disturbing. Our homicide investigators will continue to work day-in and day-out and our homicide investigators will continue to work with our stakeholders and community partners and hopefully we’ll get our hands wrapped around this.”

While IMPD still needs the community’s cooperation in coming forward with tips, Young said the department has been encouraged by the help it’s received from the public in recent cases.

“The community has been very receptive to us asking them to provide tips and we’ve seen folks do that and so it’s led to a number of arrests and it brings closure to those families who may be grieving or are going through this if their loved one has been a victim of violent crime,” he said.

Mays hopes the community will respond the same in her grandson’s case and tell investigators anything that may lead to finding whoever is responsible.

“We want justice. Please whoever you are, if you know anything about my grandson, please come forth,” Mays pleaded.

She said Christmas this year won’t be the same. A pine tree sits in the corner of the family room of her home where Luckett also lived. She said her only wish right now is that the person who took her grandson’s life realizes the impact their actions have had.

“He won’t be here for Christmas no more, that’s a hurting thought,” she said. “How would they feel if they lost their loved one right here in the holiday season?”

IMPD has not announced any arrests in the case. They are asking anyone with information to contact Detective Matthew PanKonie at the IMPD Homicide Office by calling (317) 327-3475 or via email at Mattew.PanKonie2@indy.gov.

You can also remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at (317) 262-8477 (TIPS).

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