INDIANAPOLIS — A week of high-profile crimes came to an end Friday, as the city’s murder rate rises and now sits at an average of three per week.
There had been 65 murders in Indianapolis as of Friday. Last year on the same date, there had been 51 murders.
One that had yet to be classified a murder was the case of gas station clerk Harry Briggs. Briggs was shot in the head by a robber Wednesday and friends said he would likely be removed from life support this weekend.
Also dead in a shooting Thursday night was 31-year-old Joshua Tucker.
“He’s my best friend in the world. That guy would’ve done anything for anyone. I’ve known him since we were 13 years old,” friend Justin Burton said.
A neighbor, Albert Rogers, shot at Tucker’s dog several days ago, according to friends. After Tucker asked for an apology, Rogers allegedly showed up at Tucker’s home and shot him several times.
Police released Rogers Friday, saying there is an investigation underway into whether it was self-defense or murder.
“That guy came up to his door and then shot him. (He) shot him in the back and that’s self-defense and this guy’s walking free?” Burton said.
“That could’ve been my son there, you know, (it) could’ve been me today,” neighbor Olga Duncan said.
That thought by Duncan is one being echoed across the city.
Ten Point Coalition held a prayer breakfast and fundraiser Friday morning, saying it’s time to tackle the issue of guns as a way to solve conflict.
“What we’re seeing it, I would label it ‘casual violence,'” Ten Point board member Rev. Charles Ellis said.
Chief Rick Hite agreed, saying many of the murders can be tied to poor conflict resolution and fights that get out of control.
“It comes down to civility, talking about conflict resolution, how we mediate disputes in our community,” Hite said.
Between a grandmother and granddaughter who lost their lives last Friday, to a police chase Sunday that ended in a crash that killed an elderly man, to even a student who survived being shot outside Arsenal Tech High School, it was a violent week.
A memorial for Briggs grew outside the Phillips 66 where he was shot while he was just doing his job. Friends and family also gathered for a prayer service at Eskenazi Hospital in the evening.
All reminders that more people and community leaders need to step up to try and stop the trend from continuing into one of the worst years of violence Indianapolis has ever seen.
“There’s enough for everyone to do, for everyone to play a role and everyone may not want to walk the street, but there’s something you can do,” Ellis said.