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By Zach Myers

INDIANAPOLIS – An Indianapolis teen who was shot and killed while police say he was trying to break into a home Sunday afternoon had “drifted away” down a dangerous path, according to those who knew him.

The Marion County Coroners office identified 17-year-old Brandon Ford as the young man killed during an attempted home invasion in the 3100 block of North College Avenue. Indianapolis Metro Police say Ford was one of three individuals who tried to break into the house around 1:00pm Sunday. IMPD said there was an exchange of gunfire and Ford was fatally shot by a homeowner.

Police records indicate the 27-year-old homeowner is a member of the Indiana National Guard and has been the victim of prior break-ins. During a Christmas Eve burglary at the same house, the homeowner lost several guns, a set of U.S. Army issue body armor, and multiple electronics devices. The homeowner was questioned and released by police after the Sunday shooting.

Fox59 has learned that Brandon Ford used to work with the Indianapolis branch of Young Men, Inc., which strives to keep young people on a positive path, and away from crime. The program’s director, Reverand Malachi Walker, tells Fox59 that Ford was with the organization for a few years.

But, Walker says, Ford began to “drift away” before dropping out of the program a few years ago.

Ford’s cousin, Shane Evans, told Fox59 he never saw any indications that Ford was getting involved with dangerous or criminal activity.

“Right now he’s gone,” Evans said. “There’s no way we can bring him back. But right now we just all as a family, as a community, we’ve got to stay strong and fight through this.”

Ford was also involved with neighborhood outreach programs based at Broadway United Methodist Church.

Friends say Ford was a cheerful young man who loved sports and music, and hoped to attend college after graduating from Decatur Central High School next year.

One friend said he never thought Ford would have been involved with a home burglary. But he wishes he could go back for a serious talk before Sunday afternoon.

“I would have told him, bro there’s a different road,” said Ladriel Chapman. “There’s a whole other different road for you to do anything to make money or to make ends meet.”

Reverand Walker says the case is a terrible reminder of the dangers young people face when they decide to get involved with criminal activity. He is hoping to arrange a prayer service near the site of Sunday’s shooting to drive that message home to other young people.

Metro Police say they have not identified the other two individuals suspected of trying to break into the home with Ford.