Youth mentor identified as 1 of 5 people murdered in Indianapolis on Tuesday


INDIANAPOLIS — A string of deadly shootings on Tuesday night leaves five people dead in the span of just a few hours.

It turns out one of those victims died trying to keep the city safe.

For reasons that remain a mystery, someone shot and killed 60-year-old Johnny Purchase on Tuesday.

“He was so affectionately known as Mr. Johnny and everyone knew that if they called Mr. Johnny he was going to be there in a hurry,” said community worker Tawnya McCrary.

Tawnya explains that Purchase had been working as a family success coach for the Edna Martin Christian Center before his death.

“He ultimately lost his life helping somebody and so I want the community to know we lost a real soldier yesterday,” said McCrary.

“He was a standup guy. I referred to him as ‘King’ and that’s who he was. That’s how I’ve known him, said the victim’s son Jonathan Purchase.

Purchase’s son says his father worked hard to engage at risk youth as a mentor and connect them with resources, when he was killed on the job.

“I know he wanted to do great things in the community. He wanted to have an impact and he died being an impact in the community,” said Jonathan. “He was willing to help anybody and everybody.  He loved he loved his kids and grandkids.”

“We are so thankful for the service he had and how we honor it is trying to drive our community to a better tomorrow,” said Barato Britt with the Edna Martin Christian Center.

Just prior to Johnny’s death, 32-year-old Ashley Bell was shot to death on Boulevard Place.

Hours later, Jerrell Moten was killed at the Towne and Terrace complex near 42nd and Post, which has been notorious for violence in recent years.

90 minutes after that, police said 23-year-old Austin Smith and 51-year-old Melissa Smith were found dead following an apparent home invasion on Pasadena. Although multiple neighbors suspect there had drug activity at the home, police would not speak about a possible motive.

Whatever the various reasons for the killings, Johnny’s friends and family have a message for the whole community following the deadly day.

“This is a call to action. We need people rise up and speak up and no longer say we don’t know anything. It’s everybody problem,” said Tawnya. “People need to stop shooting to solve issues. That’s not the way.”

So far police have not announced any arrests from any of the four shootings. Anyone with information is still asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

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