Community leaders believe murder at troubled housing complex illustrates flaws in Indy’s current public safety plan

Indianapolis Area Crime

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis man is dead following a shooting at a controversial housing complex on the city’s northeast side.

Some community leaders claim the shooting at the largely dilapidated Towne and Terrace complex near 42nd and Post illustrates that the city’s current public safety plan isn’t working, and changes need to be made to save lives.

Officers on patrol heard gunshots at Towne and Terrace Tuesday night and quickly found 24-year-old Oliver Wallace dead.

“I knew this victim. He was like a brother of mine,” said Dee Ross with the Ross Foundation.

Ross grew up with Wallace and believes the Ross Center, which is under construction with plans to open by Labor Day, could’ve saved his friend’s life. He also believes the center will save others by offering counseling and connecting people in need near 42nd and Post with resources.

“We need to dive into the root causes and eliminate barriers and challenges so we can put them into a position to thrive,” explained Ross.

While the motive for his murder remains unclear, jail records show Wallace was arrested on a felony weapons charge at Towne and Terrace last Friday. Wallace spent two days behind bars before being released Sunday, just 48 hours before he was killed.

“It highlights the whole idea of a revolving door of criminal justice,” said Indy Fraternal Order of Police President Rick Snyder. “You’re cycling people back into a neighborhood with no plan. There is no plan. There is no additional resources.”

Wallace’s murder marks the third homicide at Towne and Terrace this year and the seventh death dating back to the beginning of 2020.

The complex, much of which is in severe disrepair, remains tied up in a legal fight with the city over demolition plans.

Regardless of that legal stalemate, Ross and Snyder agree the violence across Indianapolis won’t stop until the city reforms its criminal justice system.

“We can’t continue doing things in a traditional way,” said Ross. “We have to be open to supporting different initiatives that are unique to the community it serves. This center is one thing that can bring relief and hope back into a hopeless community.”

“What are we doing to keep somebody from falling victim to the life of crime they may be leading? That’s why we say today they’re the suspect and tomorrow they’re the victim,” said Snyder. “The system is broken, and it’s costing lives in our city, and we can fix it.”

Snyder believes the city needs to return to a 24-hour arrestee processing system which is overseen by a judge around the clock. That would keep repeat violent offenders from being cycled right back onto the streets.

All three homicides this year at Towne and Terrace remain unsolved. Anyone with information on those cases can contract Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

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