INDIANAPOLIS – The tragic death of a 12-year-old boy, who was killed by a stray bullet inside his grandmother’s home, remains unsolved one year later.

Police still believe 12-year-old Day’Shawn Bills was playing a video game inside his grandmother’s home on Leland Avenue in May 2021 when he was hit by a stray bullet fired from outside the home.

“That’s heartbreaking, just to know your grandson is playing a video game and a bullet comes in and takes his life forever,” said Antonio Patton.

A short time after the shooting the family moved out of the home which remains empty to this day, but the family couldn’t leave their emotional scars behind.

“It’s impossible for that mother to be the mother she was when Day’Shawn was living,” said Patton.

Day’Shawn’s death sparked a large vigil and citywide outrage at the time.  Antonio Patton met and became friends with the family after the tragedy.  He spoke on their behalf a year later.

“That pain never subsides. It never goes away. Every day they get up and that pain is there,” said Patton.

“There is no indication that Day’Shawn was an intended target of any bullets,” said IMPD Captain Roger Spurgeon.

The commander of IMPD’s homicide unit says police have uncovered a possible motive, but admit they’re not close to identifying a suspect.

“We’re a little bit further along than we were the night it happened, but far from where we need to be to get resolution,” said Spurgeon.

While overall homicide numbers across the city skyrocketed in 2020 and 2021, the number of homicide victims under the age of 18 has remained fairly constant over the last five years, with double-digit deaths every year except in 2018.

In 2022, however, Indianapolis is seeing an increase in youth homicide victims. As of May 6, the number of youth homicide victims is double the number killed as of the same day in 2021, and is higher than any other recent year.

The FOX59 crime mapping team took a look at youth homicides across Indianapolis. They found that from 2014-2022, 69 homicide victims under the age of 18 have died due to shootings, making it the most common manner of death in youth homicides.

Most of those homicides took place in children aged 15-17, the same demographic that the city is targeting with its Safe Summer program.

Taking a look at where the homicides happened, the Far Eastside and Near Eastside neighborhoods experienced the brunt of the youth homicides. Within the Far Eastside are two census tracts with 4 youth homicides each.

Day'Shawn was one of three youth homicide victims in the 3601.02 census tract located within the Arlington Woods neighborhood. He was one of 855 people under the age of 18 living in this area in 2020.

“It’s a big tear in our heart. It doesn’t heel. I miss my daughter every day,” said Nikki Cope.

Cope lives just one census tract over in the Arlington Woods neighborhood. She knows the pain Day’Shawn’s family is feeling because two years ago, in May 2020, a stray bullet tore into her car near the intersection of 38th and Arlington and killed her only daughter, 16-year-old Nya Cope, who was sitting in the passenger seat next to her mom.

“I think of that night a lot and think why me?” said Cope. “Each night I cry when I go to bed, grieving for her and missing her,” said Cope.

She was the first youth homicide for this small area of Indianapolis and one of 1,203 people under the age of 18 in this section of Arlington Woods.

In the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood, 8-year-old Rodgerick Payne Junior died in March 2020 when he was hit by a stray bullet while eating dinner inside his home on Tacoma.

Within the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood, the 3507 Census Tract was home to 395 people under the age of 18 in 2020. That census tract has experienced 2 youth homicides since 2014.

In 2015, 10-year-old Deshaun Swanson was killed following a drive-by shooting at a home in Butler-Tarkington. He was also the only youth homicide victim for the neighborhood since 2014. The census tract where Swanson lived was home to 619 people under the age of 18 in 2020.

No arrests have ever been made for any of the four deaths and police admit stray bullet killings are difficult to solve without the public’s help.

“It does add a degree of difficulty over and above people who are the intended target,” said Spurgeon.

“The only way we can help with the violence is for people to start speaking up,” said Cope.

While Crime Stoppers offers a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in those cases, Nya Cope’s mother says the family increased the reward in that case to $5,000. Anyone with information can contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.