Crime Watch 8

IMPD sets up 48-hour tip line for info on Subway shooting, quadruple homicide

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Amidst calls from city and community leaders to reduce violence in Indianapolis, police have announced a temporary, staffed tip-line to collect information on two recent unsolved shootings on the northeast side that left five people dead.

Jan 27: Subway shooting, Shadeland Avenue

Ashok Kumar, 35, was killed while he was working at a Subway sandwich shop at 7401 N. Shadeland Ave.

Kumar was involved in a fight with three suspects during a possible robbery while the restaurant was open, police said.

Two days after his death, friends held a vigil at the Shadeland Station Shopping Center in honor of Kumar, just feet away from where he was murdered. He was remembered as a hard worker, and many at the vigil vowed to take action.

Feb. 5: Quadruple homicide, Shady Oak Drive

The shooting deaths of three men and one woman late Wednesday night at an apartment complex near 42nd Street and Mitthoeffer Road has prompted an outcry from religious, political and community leaders around the city, as they denounce what many have called a surge of violence. Police have said the shootings appeared to be targeted, and no arrests have been made.

Braxton Ford, 21; Marcel Wills, 20; Jalen Roberts, 19; and Kimari Hunt, 21, were found dead at the Carriage House East Apartments. A person living nearby said she heard 20-30 gunshots that night.

IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said Thursday that investigators don’t know the motive: “There’s answers out there. There’s people who know. Our detectives are dedicated to finding the people responsible for this. I know they’ll work hard.”

The shooting victims, Braxton Ford, Kimari Hunt, Jalen Roberts and Marcel Wills, were remembered with a vigil Thursday. Relatives told News 8 that Hunt was the girlfriend of Marcel Wills and that Wills was a cousin of Ford and Roberts. Each of the victims had not yet celebrated their 22nd birthday.

How to leave a tip

For the next 48 hours — from the afternoon of Feb.11 to the afternoon of Feb. 13 — members of the IMPD Homicide Unit will be available to take tips or information. Citizens with any information on either case are encouraged to call the IMPD Homicide Office at 317-327-3475 or Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477.

IMPD says citizens can also download the mobile P3tips app for Apple or Android phones to submit a mobile tip, or submit a web tip here.

According to IMPD, you will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the information leads to a felony arrest. Only tips submitted directly and anonymously to Crime Stoppers are eligible for these cash rewards.

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Boyfriend of British TV presenter heartbroken by her death

LONDON (AP) — The boyfriend of Caroline Flack, the former British TV host for the controversial reality show “Love Island,” said Sunday that his “heart is broken” at her death as criticism mounted over her treatment by some British media.

British commercial television network ITV said it would not air Sunday’s edition of the show but that it would return on Monday with a tribute to its former host.

Flack, 40, was found dead Saturday at her home in east London after taking her own life, according to a family lawyer. Flack hosted “Love Island” from its launch in 2015 before stepping down in December after being charged with assaulting her 27-year-old boyfriend, Lewis Burton.

Flack denied the charge and was to stand trial next month. She was also not allowed to have any contact with Burton, a bail restriction he objected to. Burton also did not want Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service to go ahead with the trial.

Over the past few months, Flack had been the focus of several negative articles and was trolled across social media for the assault charge. On Sunday, the story of her suicide dominated the front pages of British newspapers.

Beside a picture of them together, Burton said on Instagram that he was in “so much pain.”

He added: “I promise I will ask all the questions you wanted and I will get all the answers nothing will bring you back but I will try make you proud everyday.”

The sixth season of “Love Island” is currently airing and ITV said in a statement that it will not broadcast Sunday’s edition of the show. On Saturday, the commercial network did not air a package of unseen footage from the previous week.

“After careful consultation between Caroline’s representatives and the ‘Love Island’ production team, and given how close we still are to the news of Caroline’s tragic death, we have decided not to broadcast tonight’s ‘Love Island’ out of respect for Caroline’s family,” ITV said in a statement.

ITV said the show will return on Monday and that it will include “a tribute to Caroline who will be forever in our hearts.”

“Love Island” puts young, attractive contestants in a tropical paradise, where they must pair up or risk being exiled. Critics claim the program places vulnerable young people under intense scrutiny and pressure, which is magnified by blanket coverage of the show by tabloids and TV talk shows. Two former “Love Island” contestants, Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis, died by suicide in 2018 and 2019.

Until her arrest, Flack had enjoyed a meteoric career rise after co-hosting Saturday morning children’s television shows. She also hosted companion shows to the popular ITV programs “I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!” and “The X Factor.”

Flack’s career blossomed further after she won the BBC show “Strictly Come Dancing” in 2014, the British version of “Dancing With The Stars.” While hosting “Love Island,” Flack made her West End stage debut in 2018, playing Roxie Hart in the musical “Chicago.”

Her death led to a flood of tributes from fellow TV hosts and criticism of her treatment by the media. The Sun tabloid, for example, removed negative online articles about her soon after her death was announced.

Talent agent Jonathan Shalit told BBC radio that Flack received “more negative press than a terrorist or a paedophile” over the trial.

“These people might be famous, but they’re still vulnerable individuals,” Shalit said.

By Sunday evening, an online petition calling for a government inquiry into “the practices and policies of mainstream media organisations and social media platforms in their efforts to protect members of the public from harm” had garnered more than 191,000 signatures.

The Crown Prosecution Service has also come under criticism for pushing ahead with the trial in the face of Burton’s opposition, particularly from Flack’s management’s company.

“The CPS should look at themselves today and how they pursued a show trial that was not only without merit but not in the public interest,” said Francis Ridley of Money Talent Management. “And ultimately resulted in significant distress to Caroline.”

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