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INDIANAPOLIS — It was shortly before 11 a.m. Monday when officers were called to Indianapolis’ 79th homicide of the year, this time at the intersection of East 34th Street and North Brouse Avenue.

“So I’m standing over here loading a truck,” said a witness who didn’t want to be identified, “and I hear a couple things that sound like firecrackers, and I look down northbound, and I see another male chasing one male, and the other male got in the car and started driving away as the other one was chasing him, and then all I hear is him on the phone saying, ‘Call the police. My nephew’s got shot four times.’

“I didn’t hear any of the words exchanged before the gunshots. After the gunshots I hear a lot of, ‘He’s in pain, he’s in agony.’ He saw his nephew got shot. He’s halfway crying and just screaming for please someone [to] call the police.”

In the last 12 months, there have been 13 homicides in the area bordered by Keystone Avenue, 38th Street, Baltimore Avenue and 27th Street.

There was another murder in the 3400 block of Brouse last July, and three in the last week along Baltimore Avenue.

A veteran neighborhood activist who spends his days settling potentially murderous feuds and weekends running community programs told me he fears the stress of the COVID-19 shutdown combined with long-simmering disputes will lead to more killings as combatants find each other on the streets for the first time in several months.

A woman at the scene of Monday’s killing said the victim had recently returned from Georgia after being away since 2020.

The activist said he couldn’t talk on camera for fear of losing his credibility as an honest broker in the streets and understood why neighbors are reluctant to be quoted on the record.

“They feel like it’s not gonna do any good,” he said. “People are just tired of talking. They want to see action. They don’t see things changing. It’s not a process that’s gonna happen overnight. It’s gonna take time because things are so imbedded in people, so much anger and so much hurt inside of people. Its gonna take time as a community, and we all have to work together to make this a better place for everybody.”

If you know the driver of a dark colored car — perhaps a Nissan or Chevrolet — who was involved in Monday’s killing at 34th and Brouse, call Crimestoppers at 317-262-TIPS. Your information could be worth a $1,000 reward.

A year ago Monday, Indianapolis had recorded 58 homicides on its way to a new annual record. Three mass murder incidents this year resulted in 18 deaths.