When his cell phone pinged with breaking news from Indianapolis Sunday morning about the murders of six people inside a home on the city’s eastside, Jerry Hunt felt a shiver.
13 years and ten days ago, on January 16, 2008, Jerry’s daughter Gina and toddler grandson Jordan were killed along with another young mother and baby in a home in the 3200 block of Hovey Street in a brutal home invasion robbery by four men in search of drugs and cash.
“To see the tragedy that happened on Adams Street just rekindles and brings up a lot of things that happened,” said Hunt. “There’s a dark cloud over Indianapolis.”
Hunt now observes Indy from afar having moved to Fort Wayne for a new life and to escape the trauma of the hometown where his heart was broken.
“I want to give my condolences to that family because you see the aftermath is the burial of putting those people in the ground and the aftermath of the tragedy is the city of Indianapolis is gonna have to come along and do that,” said Hunt, recalling the struggle of unexpected funeral costs in the midst of tragedy long ago while describing his reaction to Sunday morning’s news of, “not only catching my breath and realizing this tragedy has happened to some other family, you want to know their names.”
In the 3500 block of North Adams Street, IMPD officers discovered the bodies Kezzie and Raymond Childs, both 42, their son Elijah, 18, and daughter Rita, 13, and 19-year-old Kiara Hawkins who died along with her near-full term unborn son.
Another boy, 15, survived by fleeing the home while being shot by a gunman.
His older brother, the Childs’ middle son, age 17, has been arrested and charged with the killings.
“Sometimes when you have a tragedy perpetrated by a family member, that’s an extra layer of challenge or difficulty to get through because that’s a person who also was loved and who also was part of a family and then you’re trying to figure out how did this happen or why did this happen and for some people, ‘What did or didn’t I do to help prevent it?’” said Kimble Richardson, a licensed mental health counselor at Community Health Network who predicts the impact of the Adams Street tragedy will be felt all across Indianapolis.
“I firmly believe that the greater Indianapolis area is affected by these traumas,” he said, “and I think one way to heal from that is to show support to that neighborhood.”
“Initially I think neighbors get closer together, they kind of make sure that they get close with their own families and generally there tends to be an opening of a neighborhood to support each other,” said Richardson. “Let’s get to know each other. ‘If we have an emergency, who do I call in your family? Or let me introduce myself.’ Just those kinds of things, that’s how neighborhoods thrive and survive through tragedies like this.”
Hunt admitted the trauma of the Hovey Street killings forced him to the emotional and mental edge on occasion and said now he still undergoes regular counseling to deal with the aftereffects of the tragedy.
“My therapy is communication. I have to discuss that issue, and if I don’t talk about with someone that I know cares or been through the same thing that I been through, then we can resolve that matter,” he said. “I go on because of the positive things. Gina’s smile lit up a room.
“If you don’t have a positive energy in your home, it’s gonna come to a head one day, and when it comes to a head, it’s like a Fred Flintstone cartoon, the whole roof is gonna blow off.”