INDIANAPOLIS — What initially began as a death investigation Monday afternoon is now a homicide investigation on the city’s near southeast side.
According to the IMPD, officers were called to the 1600 block of E. Troy Avenue just after 12 p.m. for a report of a person down. When they arrived on scene, IMPD said officers found a man, who was pronounced dead at the scene, with injuries consistent with trauma.
The Marion County Coroner’s Office confirmed that the victim, identified as Kevin Lee Conner, 58, died from a gunshot wound.
“I’m just so mad at somebody so gutless could do that and walk away from him and leave him like that,” said Joseph Roberts, a close friend of the victim.
“Kevin was an outstanding guy. He worked for me for a really, really long time and we were good friends,” Roberts said.
Roberts shared that Conner leaves behind many friends and family members who loved him.
“He was just a laid-back guy. He really was humble and kind,” Roberts said. “He was thoughtful. He was different in his own way. He was a musical prodigy. I mean, he could play like you wouldn’t believe, to the point where it was almost boring to him.”
Roberts said his friend always carried around his guitar and called him a talented guitar player with an ear and heart for music.
“I’ve seen a lot of guitar players. I’ve toured with my band and been all over the place and nobody could touch him,” he added.
The area where Conner’s body was found Monday was under the I-65 overpass on E. Troy Avenue between Draper Street and Boyd Avenue. People who live in nearby homes told FOX59 they were left feeling uneasy after everything that happened.
On Thursday afternoon, underneath the bridge, a candle was lit, flowers laid nearby and writing scribbled on the wall to memorialize Conner.
His friends said they have difficulty understanding why anyone would ever want to hurt him.
“Why what do you want to kill him? He didn’t have a mean bone in his body. I mean he would give you the shirt off of his back,” said Roberts. “I cannot believe that he’s really gone.”
“No one should have to go through burying loved one based off of them being killed by someone else,” said IMPD Public Information Officer William Young.
According to IMPD, no arrests have been announced in the case. It comes on the heels of more than a dozen homicides in Indianapolis since the start of October.
“Our department doesn’t just look at this like another number, any time we have one homicide that’s way too many for our officers in this particular, this community,” said Young.
Recently, IMPD has made arrests in several homicide investigations. Young said they need the community’s help to be able to do the same here.
“I think the community was a big part in us making those arrests, so hopefully we’ll have that same outcome here in this particular investigation,” Young said. “As an agency, we share that same frustration with the community. So, we want to be as responsive as we can with the community and will continue to do that by holding those accountable responsible.”
Although IMPD has not released information on what is believed to have led up to this shooting, police are encouraging people to walk away before doing something you can’t undo.
“We hope folks can talk it out or if it’s something that’s heated, maybe you can go somewhere and cool down, then as cooler heads prevail, maybe you can come back and have some type of resolution. The keyword is conflict resolution,” said Young.
“We always hope that we get the information out to folks, not before we have to make a homicide arrest or not before another person gets killed for that matter,” Young added.
He reminds there are also resources in the community that can help if you find yourself in a situation where you feel something could happen or you want someone to help intervene.
“Maybe you don’t want to go to the police; go to your clergy, go to your community stakeholders, anything that you can think of that will help. Go talk to a friend, someone that you trust,” Young said.
He reminds once you pull a trigger or use violence to solve a problem, you can’t go back.
“Not only are you hurting the victim, but you are hurting your own family. Some of these folks, the suspects are spending decades in prison and never getting out of prison. So, these are things that you must think about before you make that decision,” Young said.
Conner’s friends and IMPD are asking anyone with information on the crime to come forward.
“Somebody man up and come forward and tell the truth what happen because somebody knows,” said Roberts.
Anyone with information on the case is encouraged to call Detective Christopher Craighill at the IMPD Homicide Office at (317) 327-3475 or by email at Christopher.Craighill@indy.gov.
Additionally, you can also call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at (317) 262-TIPS (8477). You will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the information leads to a felony arrest.