UPDATE (09/03/2023): IMPD detectives arrested 34-year-old Deonta Nelson for his alleged role in the murder Emily Willis. Police used License Plate Readers to help them identify Nelson’s vehicle and link him to the case. IMPD located Nelson on Sept. 1 and arrested him for murder and possession of a firearm by a serious felon.
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis woman is dead following a shooting on the city’s near east side.
Walking near E. New York Street and N. Rural Street around 9 p.m. Monday night, police believe 27-year-old Emily Lee Anna Willis was hit by gunfire.
Police responded and found the victim lying on the sidewalk. Paramedics rushed the woman to the hospital where she died from her injuries.
While the exact cause remains unclear, police believe Willis was involved in some sort of disturbance just prior to the shooting.
“Shortly before the shooting, detectives believe there was a disturbance between the female and another individual or individuals which led to the shooting,” said IMPD Lt. Shane Foley. “We’re trying to identify who those people are.”
“We have an evil spirit that’s prevailing in the 10th street community,” said Pastor Fredrick Boyd with Zion Unity Baptist Church.
The area along Rural where the killing took place is a traditionally high crime neighborhood.
Pastor Boyd plans to hold a vigil for the victim on Wednesday morning around the corner from the scene at 2837 E. New York Street.
He urges people in the community to step up and hold those who committed this crime, and other acts of violence in the area, responsible.
“Somebody has to stand up and say this is what I’ve seen because you don’t get rid of a problem sitting on it. You get rid of a problem by addressing it and sharing what you know,” said Boyd.
The father of the woman killed says his daughter had a good heart, but admits she hung around some bad people.
Police reports show Willis was the victim of domestic violence incidents twice this year, with the most recent alleged assault being filed just last week.
Police won’t confirm if domestic violence played a role in the killing, but they are asking anyone with surveillance cameras in the area to see if they saw anything suspicious Monday night.
“It’s likely that someone saw something or knows something and we’re asking them to come forward. What we find is when people provide information, we’re very likely to solve cases,” said Foley.
So far no arrests have been made in the case.
Anyone with information about this incident should call Detective James Hurt at the IMPD Homicide Office at 317-327-3475 or e-mail the detective at James.Hurt@indy.gov.
Alternatively, they can call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477 or (TIPS) to remain anonymous.