Crime Watch 8

Family, friends mourn teen killed at northeast side park

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Family and friends of 18-year-old Javian Rhodes grieved together at Gardner Park on the city’s northeast side Saturday. Rhodes was found shot to death near the park Tuesday.

“He was my late wife’s nephew,” said Pastor Donald Edwards, who has been counseling the family.

There are no leads into who may have killed Rhodes.

Rhodes became the 244th person murdered in the city of Indianapolis this year, but to the people who knew him, Rhodes is more than just a number.

“Very sad for the simple fact that (he was) another young life that unnecessarily left — 18 years old. He really didn’t have a life — still had youth in him — so it hits home,” said Edwards.

Rhodes leaves behind an aunt, mother, grandmother and several siblings.

Edwards runs a program called “Victory over Violence”, which is working to reduce violent crime around the city. He thinks a lot of it stems from disputes on social media.

“If we just learn to talk with each other and stop jumping to conclusions, stop taking things personal — social media has a lot to do with it,” said Edwards.

IMPD Chief Randal Taylor Says the homicide rate in Indianapolis mirrors the trend in other large cities around the country.

The city is putting millions of dollars into community programs to curb the violence. However, in the end, Taylor wants the community has to meet the police department halfway.

“The communication between parents and kids about violence, neighbors to neighbors, just the community in general,” said Taylor.

Though the statistics are disheartening, Edwards says he won’t stop trying to bring peace to the community.

“Sometimes you got to move two steps forward and one step back and we just keep doing it until we reach our goal of non-violence,” he said.

IMPD says out of the 244 homicide cases this year, not all perpetrators or victims were teens — a good amount of them were adults.