INDIANAPOLIS — Family and friends of a teenage boy shot and killed on the near east side of Indianapolis are mourning his loss, while the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department searches for his killer.
According to IMPD, officers were called to the first block of North Randolph Street around 4:15 p.m. Monday, where they located the victim, later identified as 17-year-old Ross Anthony Mitchell, with at least one gunshot wound.
Mitchell was taken to an area hospital, where police said he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
“He was smart, he was witty, he was charming, he was gorgeous, he was everything that an auntie could wish for,” said Nicki Hunt. “He was the most amazing young man.
“I can’t believe it’s real. Yesterday was his mother’s birthday,” continued Hunt, who is struggling to imagine what life will be like without her nephew.
“He was the light of our family. You took our baby.”
Mitchell would have turned 18 in exactly one month, Hunt said. He was born one day before her birthday.
“Not only was he a gift that day, but he has continued for 17 years,” said Hunt.
Family is heartbroken that Mitchell wont have the chance to see that milestone or accomplish the many things he set out to do in the future, including graduating high school.
“He told me that he had officially decided to join the military and go into engineering and mechanics,” Hunt shared. “Now he won’t graduate, he won’t join the military, he will never have babies, he will never get married, he will never grow up, he will never grow up. He will never be there for his brothers again. He loved his family so much.”
Detectives learned that Mitchell was playing curb ball with his younger brother when an unknown male walked out of the alley and shot at him before running from the scene. A nearby house was also struck by gunfire.
Hunt questions how anyone could do something so senseless. She can’t help but think of the dreams her nephew had to make a positive path in life for himself and to set an example for others.
“His words the other night on the phone when we were video chatting, he said to me, ‘Aunt Nick, I’ll never be broke.'”
When she asked Mitchell to elaborate, she said he told her, “I broke the cycle. I’m gonna be the one to break the cycle.”
She remembers her nephew, who she said spent time with her on and off growing up, as funny, loving and caring.
“As he through his personality developed to be charming, he’s so full of character, he’s so full of life, he just had the world ready at his fingers,” she remembered. “I’m gonna tell you, if you were having a bad day, that one right there, he changed everything.”
She is begging anyone with information on the person responsible for Mitchell’s death to come forward and tell police what they know.
“Please, please get my nephew some justice. Our lives will never be the same.”
Hunt also shared a message for the suspected shooter: “The person who took his life, I don’t know what was going through his or hers, or whoever’s mind, when this happened, but I cannot be angry at you. I have to remember that as a child of God you should bring yourself forward. You’re not a coward. Be a child of God.”
“My nephew was everything to us, and the pain that is there, I would never wish on your mother or your father or your grandmother or grandfather,” she said. “Please just help our family.”
This is now the 12th homicide involving a child under the age of 18 in Indianapolis in 2021.
“The impact of this is forever,” said Lisa Brown, IMPD’s victim assistance manager. “When a homicide occurs, life changes forever in a very, very drastic way.”
Brown has been working with families of homicide and other violent crimes across the city for 27 years. She said the impact from each individual homicide is “unbelievable.”
“You’ve got family members, you’ve got coworkers, you’ve got fellow students. The whole community is impacted by this violence,” said Brown.
For every one homicide, Brown said IMPD estimates about 200 people are affected.
“That’s a lot of people that are affected,” she said.
Even as Brown nears three decades on the job, she said talking with families of homicide victims never gets easier.
“I can’t emphasize this enough, it’s forever, and it’s a horrible road to be thrust upon for a family,” said Brown. “The homicides are the worst. Like I said, the impact is so big, and it’s forever.”
She said the long-term impacts aren’t limited to only families of the victims, but also families of the perpetrators in violent crimes, whose lives are also changed when they’re caught.
“If they’re not gonna think about the victim and their family, at least think about your own family,” she expressed.
The IMPD Victim Assistance Unit provides resources for people impacted by violent crime, including a homicide support group that meets.
“Unfortunately, the number of invites that I send out gets to be more and more every day,” said Brown.
She wants people to know there are resources like counseling, support groups and individualized support options within the Victim Assistance Unit, and anyone seeking help can reach out to them. She also hopes people hear the messages shared by IMPD about the impact these acts of violence are having on the community.
“Search yourself for the compassion, not just for the victim’s family, but for your own and come forward. You’re gonna get caught. You’re not gonna get away with this, and the sooner you come forward and turn yourself in, the better it’s gonna be for everybody,” said Brown.
According to police, the suspect was armed with a handgun and is described as having a medium skin tone. He was wearing a light hoodie and dark pants. Police believe him to be “young” and around 5’6” and 160 pounds.
Anyone with information should contact Detective Mark Howard at the IMPD Homicide Office by calling 317-327-3475 or e-mailing him at Mark.Howard@indy.gov.
You can also contact Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana, if you wish to remain anonymous, by calling 317-262-TIPS (8477).