INDIANAPOLIS — A 12-year-old girl remains in the hospital after she was injured in a shooting on Indianapolis’ far east side.
According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, shortly after 8 p.m. on Sunday, officers responded to the 600 block of Belhaven Place, where they located a girl suffering from a gunshot wound to her neck. She was transported to an area hospital, where police said she is currently listed as stable.
This incident marks the latest in a string of violent weekends where several children have been injured in shootings, with the youngest victim being just 4 years old.
“It needs to stop. It needs to stop. It’s sad,” said a neighbor, who only wished to be identified by her first name, Shieles.
“It’s certainly frustrating to our officers. Lots of our officers, our paramedics and fire, we have children of our own,” said IMPD public information officer William Young.
According to IMPD, preliminary information gathered by investigators indicates the girl was inside her apartment when she was struck by a bullet fired from outside.
“Everyone should be safe, especially a child, should be safe in their own home,” said Young. “We need the community members to understand that picking up a firearm and hurting someone is never the answer.”
Shieles added, “You can’t even be safe in your own home now. Kids can’t even have a good time anymore, so I keep my kids in the house for now, but that’s not even safe.”
She said she was home Sunday night when she began to hear gunfire.
“When we first heard the first shot, I was like okay, but then the shots like just kept on continuing, continuing, continuing,” Shieles described. “My kids ran in the room with me, and so I’m like, ‘Y’all get down,’ because I didn’t know if they were coming through the wall or not because like we’re back-to-back neighbors.”
Shieles explained that she lives next to the unit where the young girl was injured and called what happened the “ultimate break” for her family.
“I am looking to move because I can’t do it. This is too close to home. It’s like a knock on the door. It’s like a knock on the door,” said Shieles.
Shieles is already too familiar with that type of feeling. She said she lost her son after he was struck by a car.
“That could’ve been another one of my kids that was taken away from me,” Shieles said.
A man who lives nearby, and did not want to be identified over concerns for his family’s safety, said he was walking back to his apartment from the grocery store Sunday night when the shooting happened.
“I heard the gunshots, so I went back, ran and got behind the building where, if the bullets did come that way, they wouldn’t hit me,” he said. “I wasn’t able to see who was actually doing the shooting, so I kind of wish I was able to help out that way, but I wasn’t able to see it because I was concerned of not being in the crossfire.”
The man said at the time of the shooting, the apartment complex was busy.
“It was and a lot of children — toddlers, not even school-aged children,” he shared. “Whoever did it had no regard for the public safety of anyone.”
Shieles said the image of seeing the young girl treated by first responders is something she can’t erase from her mind.
“The really heartbreaking part of is watching the child on the stretcher having pressure applied to her neck area,” she said. “I just hope she pulls through. I hope she’s okay. I’m praying for her family. I’m praying for her mom.”
As of Monday evening, there have not been any arrests announced in connection to the shooting, and IMPD said they need help from the community to find whoever is responsible.
“It’s extremely important that we get the community’s cooperation anytime we have a case like this, so that we’re able to hold those accountable and responsible who inflict gun violence on our community,” said Young.
IMPD is asking anyone who may have been in the area and heard or saw something to provide what they know to detectives, including any possible vehicle description.
Those with information are asked to call IMPD’s Aggravated Assault Office at 317-327-3475. You can also email Detective Justin Gray at Justin.Gray@indy.gov.
If someone with information on the shooting wishes to remain anonymous, you can also call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-TIPS (8477).
“I pray that they find whoever did this to this young lady,” said Shieles.
As of Sunday night, at least 51 juveniles have been injured in shootings across Indianapolis since the start of 2021, according to data obtained by FOX59. In addition to those injured, IMPD’s year-to-date homicide report shows there have also been at least seven juveniles killed in shootings.
“Conflict resolution are two big words I always say, and how important it is to learn how to deal with conflict resolution before we get to that point of picking up a firearm or a knife for the reason to hurt someone,” said Young. “It’s not worth it.”
Shieles said she hopes people realize the consequences their actions have when they do something like this and endanger the lives of innocent bystanders, like the child injured Sunday.
”You never know who you’re hitting with that bullet. Bullets have no eyes,” said Shieles. “It could’ve been an infant that was in there. At the end, nobody wins.”