Teens’ shooting death ignites demand for change among neighbors, Indy leaders

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Those who knew Nicholas Nelson said he was awesome. Nicholas worked with Indy Urban Acres.

One of its leaders spoke with FOX59 on Friday night, hours after Nicholas and his teenage sister, Ashlynn Nelson, were found shot to death in their east side apartment.

The group said, "Nic Nelson was one of the greatest kids who has ever come through our program with youth employment. Nic was resilient. He cared about his team, his friends and was really part of the family at Indy Urban Acres. He's not just another troubled kid in our city."

Nicholas and his sister were found shot to death inside their Postbrook Apartments home before 7:30 a.m. Friday. Officers on scene tried to comfort their mother after she was called back to the apartment from her job.

IMPD said they saw a man running away from the scene. Despite sending out their K9 unit, they were unable to take that person of interest into custody.

"You can't keep your mouth closed," Leroy Smith charged. "If you're seeing children out here with guns, go tell someone."

Smith is a member of the Indianapolis TenPoint Coalition. The community said enough is enough, things must change.

"Our babies are dying out here, and we need to do something, and we need to do it now," Smith said.

Smith and other members of TenPoint walk through the neighborhood four times a week, provide snacks, sometimes meals, and a listening ear to the children in the community.

"We fell in love with these children," Smith said.

Smith said he met Ashlynn during one of his walks through the area.

"We just said something to her about doing a kickball tournament," Smith said. "So, it was a hard pill to swallow for us today."

Desiree Kramer has lived at the complex for two years and raises her three children there. She believes children learn the best lessons at home, and she said she is trying to teach her children right from wrong.

"Be outside with your kids," Kramer said. "I know that we're working moms and dads and stuff, but I try to be out here all the time to pay attention. I know almost everybody's parents. I have their phone numbers."

Indy TenPoint said it is time for people to seriously talk to each other and come up with solutions before more children die.

"I think one of the main things that we can all do together is to listen to our young people, because a lot of them are crying out for help, and they don't know how to go get it," Smith said.

Smith added the time is now so these teenage siblings do not die in vain.

"Our community needs to wake up and come out here and get together and watch our children, and watch what they're doing," Smith said.

Anyone with information on the teens' deaths should call the IMPD homicide office at 317-327-3475. Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS (8477).

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