City leaders react after 12-year-old boy dies following east side shooting

Indianapolis Area Crime

INDIANAPOLIS — A 12-year-old boy is dead after being shot inside a home on Indy’s east side.

Family members tell us the victim, Day’Shawn Bills, died at 5 p.m. Friday.

The police chief believes the shooting was the result of a drive by, but the motive remains unclear.

Police believe Bills was playing video games with his family overnight inside his grandmother’s home when he was hit by a bullet fired from outside the home.

“I mean it’s just silly for someone to shoot inside a house knowing there’s kids inside,” said the victim’s aunt Penelope Hopkins

Speaking next to a memorial of balloons in front of the family’s home, Penelope says her nephew was the youngest of 7 people inside the house when the shooting started and was the only one to get hit by the gunfire.

“It was just senseless and stupid,” said Hopkins.

“A kid can’t even play a video game in his house. This is beyond crazy,” said community activist Antonio Patton.

Community activist Antonio Patton spoke to Dayshawn’s grandmother and shared her message to the community during a news conference.

“The grandmother asked me to say to you all, to pray for them.  She doesn’t want vengeance.  She wants justice,” said Patton.

Mayor Joe Hogsett, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Chief Randal Taylor and anti-violence community leaders held a press conference Thursday after the east shooting.

“This cannot be the lived experience of families in our city; anywhere in our city. That is why the city, IMPD, elected officials, community anti violence groups, church groups and individuals throughout the community are doing everything we can to address the spike in violence in Indianapolis,” said Mayor Hogsett.

Chief Taylor said this incident was “a boy just hanging out with family, ends up getting shot. It’s highly unlikely the 12-year-old was the target. But when we’re at the point where people are shooting into homes not thinking about consequences, that’s a problem. I’m praying for this young man.”

The family provided a photo and identified the boy as 12-year-old Dayshawn Bills.

Dayshawn Bills (family provided photo)

Officials are asking anyone in the neighborhood or wider community who saw something or knows something to please help this young boy’s family by calling in information to 317-262-TIPS (8477).

Patton who spoke on the family’s behalf Thursday evening told FOX59 that better lit streets might deter would-be criminals from acting out in the first place. 

“It’s time to open the blinds and see what’s going on and it’s sad that we have to keep our blinds open at 2 a.m. cause at 2 a.m. some tragedy might strike so we need eyes on – we need lights porches on, we need a well-lit community,” Patton said. “We need to light up these communities. We need to put light poles in every community and we need LED lights on em. That way somebody can know, to let law enforcement know. Get these guys outta here.”

One man who lives nearby spoke with police Thursday morning after he heard the gunshots. 

“I heard the gunshots going off and back and forth and people screaming and hollering in the street and it was kinda sad. It was sad,” one neighbor recalled. “Bullets don’t have no eyes. They fly everywhere at anyone, even a child. This violence gotta stop. It’s just got to stop, there’s no doubt about it. It’s just got to stop.”

Patton, who remained close to the family Thursday afternoon, told FOX59 they would provide an update on the boy’s condition Friday morning. 

“They’re just… mourning, you know, we may not be able to feel what they feel, the family… but this entire city should be empathetic about what they’re going through,” Patton said. They’re numb. Their world has been rocked and altered forever and they didn’t ask for it. Nobody signed up for this. Nobody could’ve thought this was gonna happen.”

Bills is a student of Indianapolis Public Schools. IPS released a statement after the shooting:

“The Indianapolis Public Schools community extends our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Day’Shawn Bills, a 7th grade student at Arlington Middle School. This is a tragedy that our families and communities should never have to experience, and we are saddened by the gun violence that continues to impact us all.”

Early Thursday morning, IMPD reported a male juvenile in critical condition after a shooting on the city’s east side. Shortly before 3:40 a.m., officers were dispatched to the 3400 block of N. Leland Avenue near 34th and Emerson for a report of a person shot.

Police confirmed the victim is a 12-year-old male and that the shots came from outside the home and hit the male who was inside. IMPD asked anyone who was in the area around the time of the shooting to come forward if they saw or heard anything.

“Everybody in the area, and I say everybody because maybe you weren’t watching TV, maybe you were driving through the area, maybe you really don’t know what you saw but it could help us solve this case,” said IMPD officer Samone Burris.

“I am so frustrated.  We have seen this far too often,” said city-county councilman Keith Graves.

Councilman Graves pointed out just over one year ago, 8-year-old Rodgerick Payne was killed by a stray bullet while eating dinner inside his home. That case remains unsolved.

The mayor and police chief just hope the Bills family sees some justice that has so far eluded the Payne family.

“I can’t imagine anyone whose raised kids here thinks this is okay, because it’s not,” said Taylor.

“We need our community to say enough is enough. Violence is not the answer. It cannot be the answer,” said Hogsett.

You can call IMPD at 317-327-3475 or contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

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