‘Still hard to believe he’s gone’: Family pleads for answers in 2020 Labor Day shooting that killed Indy man


INDIANAPOLIS — The family of an 18-year-old Indianapolis man killed in a quintuple shooting on Labor Day last year is hoping someone will come forward with information that leads police to his killer.

The deadly shooting happened in the area of 38th Street and Graceland Avenue in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood. Dozens of shots were fired, leaving four people injured and one dead in the early morning hours of Labor Day.

Police identified 18-year-old Anthony Mills as the man who died.

“We all are just so devastated that this took place,” said Anthony’s mother, Saddie. “I would never expect a phone call like that.”

Police believe the shooting began after an argument during a party spilled into the street on Graceland Ave. According to police, there were multiple shooters and it was not clear who fired the fatal shots.

Saddie and Anthony’s stepfather, Gordon Terry, said he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and they’ll never stop fighting for justice in their son’s murder until someone is held responsible.

“Somebody has to know something. You can’t sit there and just hide behind that shell because sooner or later it’s going to crack,” said Saddie. “You took our son, nephew, cousin, dad away from us.”

Just five weeks after Anthony’s death, he posthumously became a first-time father to a baby girl, Zariah Toni Mills. It’s a day Saddie said her son was looking forward to.

“He was happy. He was about to be a family man,” said Terry. “She looks just like her daddy. When you look at her face, you see him.”

Just over a month shy of her Zariah’s first birthday, the family said Anthony’s memory lives on through his daughter. They’re also doing everything they can to make sure she always knows who her dad was.

“The family still has a lot of video of him so that’ll be helpful for her to see instead of just a picture of her father she can see and hear his voice,” said Terry.

As Zariah gets ready to take her first steps, it’s one more milestone family says their son will never get to experience and they want whoever took his life to find it in their heart to do the right thing.

“You know what you did was wrong. Come forward.”

Saddie and Terry remember their son as a well-loved, respectful and responsible young man who had dreams of things he wanted to accomplish in life.

Photo of Anthony and Saddie Mills

“He was going back to school. He was working because he wanted to take some college courses after school,” said Saddie, “He wanted to succeed in life.”

“He even asked me, he said, ‘Mama, would you be proud if I was to go and be a rapper?’ I will support, you know. I love anything that he took a challenge on doing. I would be right there beside him,” Saddie shared.

At the time of the shooting, the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood was on its way to a milestone itself. It was just days away from going four out of five years without a person killed in a criminal homicide.

“I think really, the neighborhood was really devastated by what had happened and certainly you feel for the people who were shot and the young man who was killed,” said Rev. Charles Harrison, board president of the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition.

“Certainly it was the biggest thing that happened since 2015 when the neighborhood had to deal with the gang violence,” said Harrison. “Early that morning when we received the phone call, I think most of us were shocked who worked the neighborhood because we just couldn’t figure out, who would do something like this because pretty much everything had been tamped down.”

“Once we got here and had realized what happened and it was a party and someone rented out a home, individuals from outside the neighborhood came in and did this, it was very disturbing.”

Harrison, who lost his own brother and nephew in shootings, says he knows the impacts these types of tragedies have on families.

“I know the lasting impact. I have been impacted by this since the 1970s,” he said. “You never really get over it. So when I’m talking to families, I hear the same thing that they’re saying is what me and my family felt.”

He said there is no closure, rather, families learn to cope with the loss of their loved ones.

“Those who pull the trigger just don’t realize the damage that they are doing to families that have to live with this for the rest of their lives,” he said.

“If it was your family member, you would want someone to do the right thing and I think people who may have information about this have to look at it, because your family would be devastated if your loved one was killed,” Harrison said.

Harrison credits the neighborhood, grassroots organizations, the community center and the Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association, who have worked to keep the community safe and curb street violence. It’s also an area patrolled by Indy’s Ten Point Coalition.

“I think we have seen a lot of progress. I think most of the homicides except for the one on Labor Day have been more domestic, which are very difficult to stop,” said Harrison. He hopes the neighborhood continues to move forward and that through the help of the public, Anthony’s murder will be solved.

“Please come forward and give that information to law enforcement or someone who can help deliver that message to law enforcement. Do the right thing and please come forward,” he said.

“I will never stop fighting, you know, because for the simple fact is that was my child,” said Saddie. “I’m gonna keep his voice going.”

Anyone with information on any unsolved homicide is encouraged to call IMPD’s Homicide Branch at 317-327-3475. You can also call Crime Stoppers if you wish to remain anonymous by dialing 317-262-TIPS (8477).

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