Murder of 18-year-old in Indy park puts the city on verge of tying the all-time homicide record

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INDIANAPOLIS– An 18-year-old is identified after being gunned down at a park on Indy’s northeast side.

The death Tuesday night puts the city on the verge of tying a violent record.

Police are still investigating exactly what led to the teenage victim being shot and killed in Gardner Park, but that death is the 244th homicide of the year.

That is just one shy of tying the all-time record set just last year.

Just before 8 p.m. Tuesday, police were called to Gardner Park near 46th and Shadeland, after someone spotted a dead body lying in the grass.

“It was definitely surprising,” said witness Isaiah Harris.

Isaiah found the victim while walking the trail in the park right behind his home.

“I didn’t really know what it was at first.   I just thought it was clothes.  I got closer and I saw it was a person and I backed away,” said Harris.

Isaiah didn’t know the 18-year-old, identified as Javion Rhodes, and police did not have any suspect information to release.

“That young man that lost his life,  I know it could have been preventable,” said Rev. Malachi Walker with Young Men Inc.

Reverend Walker fully supports the new marketing message unveiled just hours before that death, “Peace in the Streets.  Stop the violence.”

Still, Walker knows teaching the city’s youth to resolve conflicts peacefully is the key to saving lives.

“We have to learn to be able to talk these things out without pulling a gun,” said Walker.

“Pulling the trigger is not solving any problem,” said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor.

During a sit down interview, Chief Taylor admits he’s sad the see the homicide record on the verge of being broken with 6 weeks left in the year, but he reminds everyone that police can’t stop the violence on their own.

“Obviously it’s disappointing and frustrating to us that we’re here, but my message is the same.  This is one of those deals where we all have to be involved if we want to see those numbers drop,” said Taylor.

Rhodes death marks the 30th homicide this year involving a victim 18 years or younger.

Anyone with information about this incident should contact Detective Stephen Smalley  at the IMPD Homicide Office at (317) 327-3475 or e-mail him at Stephen.Smalley@indy.gov

Alternatively, they can call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at (317) 262-8477 or (TIPS) to remain anonymous.  Citizens can also download the mobile P3tips app for Apple or Android phones to submit a mobile tip, or go to www.CrimeTips.org to submit a web tip. You will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1000 if the information leads to a felony arrest.  Only tips submitted directly and anonymously to Crime Stoppers are eligible for these cash rewards. This release may be updated as more information becomes available. Information given via Crime Stoppers should be considered anonymous.

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