Youth gun violence homicides increase halfway through 2020, outpacing recent years

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INDIANAPOLIS — 2020 has been a deadly year for Indianapolis. In less than 6 months, 107 homicides have been reported. 

There has also been an increase in youth violence halfway through the year.

Just four days into the year, the first homicide of 2020 involved a 15-year-old murdered behind a vacant home on Priscilla. That case began a violent trend of kids under the age of 18 being shot and killed across the city.

The victims include 15-year-old Peter Lambermont, 17-year-old Da’Mario McCullough, 8-year-old Rodgerick Payne Junior, 15-year-old Keyvon Hall, 16-year-old Nya Cope, 16-year-old David Lowery Junior and 14-year-old Curtis White Junior.

All 7 lost their lives to gun violence this year, including most recently White, who was killed during what police say was an armed robbery attempt on the canal in downtown.

“I miss my Nya so much every day. My whole life was her. They turned my life upside down,” said Nya Cope’s mother Nikki Cope.

Nikki was driving her car on east 38th street in early May when her daughter was shot and killed by a stray bullet fired into the passenger seat.

“The vision goes through my mind of that night a lot,” said Cope. “As a parent, I can’t explain the hurt. The hurt is so deep,” said Cope.

Out of the 7 juvenile deaths this year, four of the cases including Nya’s, remain unsolved.

Da’Mario McCullough, a football player at Cathedral high, was killed during triple shooting on Emerson.

Rodgerick Payne was struck by a stray bullet while eating dinner inside his home on Tacoma.

David Lowery died when an argument involving a large group of teens turned to gunfire on Edgemont in early June.

“It’s terrible all these families have to live with losing their children,” said Cope.

The seven total underage homicide victims in the first six months of 2020 is an increase over recent years. Halfway through both 2018 and 2019, the city had 4 gun violence related juvenile homicide victims each year.

Nya’s mother just hopes justice will eventually be served for all seven kids killed this year.

“My heart aches. It’s the worst feeling ever to not to know who shot my car and killed my daughter,” said Cope.

Anyone with information on the four unsolved homicides is still asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

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