INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Law enforcement and community advocates are searching for answers in the 2015 murder of 10-year-old De’Shaun Swanson.
They say, without more cooperation from the community, the case will remain unsolved.
Nathan Husak, a supervisory special agent with the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force, said, “This case is going to be solved by information that is received from the community and information received from that specific impacted neighborhood.”
De’Shaun was killed in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood in 2015 after a memorial service. Investigators say the drive-by shooting was likely a targeted attack, but the 10-year-old child was not the intended target.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s lead detective on the case is undercover but still working to track down the people responsible for gunning down a child. “It is believed that there was a different target,” said the undercover detective. “There were also individuals that were shot as well during the same incident.”
IMPD is still asking for help. The undercover detective said, “We need assistance from the public and the community as a whole to bring these individuals to justice if you would and try to get the family some closure not only for their family member but a 10-year-old child.”
Officials and community advocates said they have an idea who was in the car, but no definitive evidence.
“It’s not so much who people believe to be involved it’s actually coming forward and giving us the intimate details of that,” said the undercover detective. “The investigation has led to a certain point in which we are confident perhaps of some involvement that needs to be questioned.”
The Rev. Charles Harrison, senior pastor of Barnes United Methodist Church and board president of the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition, said, “It’s been difficult in getting someone to come forward out of fear that if they give information to law enforcement they’re going to be a target. We certainly have heard names of individuals who were allegedly in the car and may have been part of the shooting.”
Harrison said the murder devastated De’Shaun’s family. The pastor says he is continuing to fight for justice so people do not forget De’Shaun’s name.
“I don’t think Black children and youth get the same kind of media coverage,” Harrison said. “I think, for the Black community, we look at that with concern because we have children and youth that are killed every year in this city.”
The FBI stepped in to help on the case in 2020 through the U.S. Department of Justice’s “Operation Legend,” a partnership between local and federal law enforcement to stop violence. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to an arrest in this case.
Husak said, “I think people talking about it and bringing it back to the forefront is always a good thing. It brings it to the attention of the public, brings it to the attention of those individuals that may have seen something, may have witnessed something and at that point in time were afraid to come forward with it.”
The last name of the FBI special agent has been corrected in this story.