Above: Michael Taylor (photo provided by family)
Indianapolis Metropolitan police are investigating a homicide after a man was found fatally shot on the east side Monday morning.
The victim was found in the 3300 block of Wallace Avenue. Dispatchers received a report of a person down around 8:40 a.m.
On Monday afternoon, police identified the victim as 21-year-old Michael Taylor. Investigators said he’d been shot to death. A report from IMPD said Taylor was shot multiple times.
“He was a pretty calm person. He didn’t bother no one,” said Taylor’s father, Willie Taylor. “He didn’t carry no weapons. He didn’t have no money on him.”
Family members were struggling Monday afternoon to come up with a reason for Michael’s death. They told Fox59 they believe Michael was shot sometime Sunday night, even though his body wasn’t found until Monday morning. The last time they saw him, he was walking home from his mother’s house, just a few doors away, with a bowl of chili.
Police records indicate Michael Taylor had one prior arrest in 2012 for resisting arrest. But several family members said they could not think of anyone who would have motive to kill Michael.
Taylor’s death followed a violent final weekend to 2013. Three homicides from Saturday evening are currently under investigation.
As of Dec. 30, Indianapolis has recorded 141 homicides. If Taylor’s death is considered to be murder, it would make 125 murders during the year. That’s the highest murder rate the city has seen since 2006.
In a Sunday night statement, IMPD Chief Rick Hite pointed out that despite the higher murder rate, overall violent crime was down in 2013. He noted the tireless and successful work of IMPD detectives to solve crimes. But he also highlighted the need to address the underlying issues driving the recent murder spike.
“We are not going to arrest our way out of this problem. We, as a community need to work together and identify the social issues associated with violent crime in Indianapolis and address it proactively,” said Chief Hite. “In the meantime, your police department will continue to do its part to keep Indianapolis safe.”
Reverand Charles Harrison, of the crime intervention organization known as the Ten Point Coalition, agrees with Chief Hite that Indianapolis remains a safe city, but with one exception.
“If you’re involved in criminal activity, it’s not a safe city,” Harrison said.
Harrison and his Ten Point Coalition members are often seen talking to friends and family in the aftermath of violent crime scenes. He says December has been one of the worst months he’s seen in recent memory, and he attributes the higher murder rate to personal retaliation from prior crimes.
“If I rob you, and I’m successful at robbing you without killing you, then normally there’s going to be a retaliation,” he said.
In general, Harrison believes law abiding citizens are unlikely to become victims of violent crime in Indianapolis. But, he says, drug dealers and robbers are putting themselves at risk when they cross others who are likely to respond with deadly force.
He says too many young people are dropping out of school and using crime to support themselves and their families, who sometimes turn a blind eye to criminal activity because it financially benefits them.
“It’s not a surprise, most of the time, when the family members come to these scenes,” Harrison said. “They know what their family member was involved in and not all are that shocked that they are killed.”
Harrison said his neighborhood sources indicate that all three Saturday evening homicides were the result of retaliation involving other criminal activity.
No suspects or possible motives have been announced in the shooting death of Michael Taylor.
Police urge anyone with information about this incident to call IMPD homicide detectives at 317.327.3475 or callers wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers of Indiana at (317) 262-TIPS (8477). Callers may also text “INDYCS” plus tip information to 274627 (CRIMES).