INDIANAPOLIS — There were a lot of kids scattered around the 7100 block of Constitution Drive on Sunday afternoon as friends and family lofted balloons into the air to memorialize Malik Parks, who was shot to death leaving a building at the Lake Castleton Apartments just before dawn on May 8.
“My little brother has always done the right thing,” said Anastasia Hatfield as her daughters stood by her side. “You have to tell your children — teach your children — to do the right things, to make sure that you lead and not follow.”
Irene Stallings thinks her son was followed, or ambushed, leaving a woman’s apartment that morning.
“He was just innocent, went out to a birthday and got a phone call and this happened,” she said.
While Parks was the city’s 88th homicide victim of 2021, his family wants the community to know the 23-year-old man was more than a number on a grim list.
Stallings said her son was a graduate of Ben Davis High School who attended Vincennes University, liked to stay home and play video games and was set to start a job at UPS the day after he was killed.
“There’s so much death out here and I just don’t understand why kids are just killing kids, death after death,” said Irene.
After the murder of a 12-year-old boy in his grandparents’ house during a drive-by shooting on Leland Avenue last week, Mayor Hogsett said the city was still a couple weeks away from announcing its 2021 summer violence reduction plan.
When the plan is unveiled, it will be about a month too late for Malik Parks’ family.
“He needs to get the guns off the street first. Also, he needs to put, if not more police, then more patrols,” said Hatfield when asked what advice she would give the mayor to stem violence in Indianapolis.
IMPD has beefed up its Crime Gun Intelligence Center and was successful in recently gaining statehouse approval for a central Indiana version of its approach to tracking firearms and taking violent felons off the streets.
Chief Randal Taylor told Fox 59 News IMPD will refigure schedules this summer to put officers into hot spot neighborhoods after dinner until early in the morning when many gun related crimes are occurring.
“We basically need heroes, we need strong people, we need strong women, strong men to come and help us, save us for real,” said Hatfield. “These shootings are almost like corona now. It happens daily. It’s taking lives daily. It’s just like COVID. This is ridiculous.”
Last year at this time, Indianapolis had recorded 82 homicides on its way to shattering the annual murder record.
Today that number stands at 99, a 28% increase over last year’s total on this date.