INDIANAPOLIS — Homicides continue to happen in Indianapolis at a never-before-seen pace. After five homicides on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, the 2021 running total has now climbed to 217.
If the current homicide rate continues, Indianapolis will break last year’s record in late November.
Community leaders fighting to keep this deadly number down say it’s frustrating seeing it rise so quickly, despite their best efforts.
”People are settling their conflicts with violence,” said Rev. Charles Harrison of the Indy Ten Point Coalition.
Harrison and Indy Ten Point take a boots on the ground approach, patrolling areas, working with youth and talking to community members about the issues they’re seeing.
Rev. Malachi Walker with Young Men, Inc. works to curb violence by mentoring Indy youth as young as eight years old.
”It is frustrating,” said Walker.
Walker said it can be discouraging to see the homicide numbers continue to rise so quickly while Young Men, Inc. and other organizations are doing good work.
”We can’t do that. I have to stay on the battleground. We have to keep chopping at this,” he said.
Late Tuesday night, someone shot and killed 18-year-old Jahnaya Bakare in the 2100 block of Wheatgrass Way, near the intersection of West 79th St. and Township Dr.
A few hours later, a man was found with a gunshot wound in an alley in the 3100 block of Graceland. The person killed has yet to be identified by authorities.
As of Wednesday afternoon, IMPD had no updates on either case.
This area where the unnamed victim was found is part of the area where Rev. Harrison and Indy Ten Point patrol.
”We need to galvanize as a community and try to figure out what can we do to drive down the violence,” he said.
On Oct. 2, Indianapolis had 200 homicides. In the 11 days since then, there have been 17 more killings. Indianapolis is currently seeing three homicides every four days and is on pace for 277 total in 2021.
”That is kind of mind-boggling,” said Walker.
Both Walker and Harrison said this is a difficult number to believe and even more has to be done to slow it down.
”Obviously what we are doing as a community is not working,” Harrison said. “Whether it be what law enforcement is doing, what grassroots organizations like Ten Point is doing. It’s not enough to drive down the violence.”
Walker said part of the solution is the young people he and Harrison both work with.
”We want to stop this homicide rate and we want to stop the killing in our city,” Walker said. “You have to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem.”