While searching YouTube, parents and police can find rap videos starring Indianapolis teenagers displaying guns.
A rap video shoot at John Marshall High School Sunday resulted in one arrest, the confiscation of two guns and the questioning for more than two dozen people from the ages of 12 to 44 about their role in the production of the video.
Ezell Triplett, 23, had a permit for his .22 handgun but was charged with possession of a firearm on school property.
A 9mm handgun was discovered on the property, and investigators believe they can identify its owner from the video that was shot.
The investigation by IMPD detectives is indicative of stepped up enforcement of gang and gun cases and reflected in more aggressive prosecution.
“We went from prosecuting approximately one gun-related defendant a month to now on average we prosecute approximately two to three gun-related defendants a week,” said U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett who adds that federal prosecution often means longer prison sentences. “If that doesn’t send a powerful message to those who want to engage in gun-related crimes, then they’re not listening.”
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said more emphasis is put on tracking the origin of guns confiscated by police.
“A lot of these weapons are stolen. They end up on the streets. They are changing hands for drugs, for a little amount of money and these handguns pass through a number of hands,” Curry said. “We are constantly trying to identify where are these guns coming from and can someone be held accountable for them getting these guns into the hands of a juvenile?”
In the basement of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department sits the armory. Behind a locked gate is a room with boxes and barrels and racks of guns, tagged and ready for destruction.
“We get guns every week or so from the Marion County property room,” said Capt. Kelvis Williams. “They send over sometimes hundreds at a time.”
Thousands of guns are destroyed annually by the department. The sheriff receives $10 per gun from a recycler who sometimes salvages parts and resells them to stores and gunsmiths.