INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Family and friends gathered Friday night on Randolph Street for a vigil honoring the four people killed in a shooting over a stimulus check just two weeks ago.
The vigil brought a renewed focus to the issue of domestic violence, which Indianapolis police say is on the rise due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the pain that these people are facing they still found a way to come together and vow to live fully to honor the lives that were taken from them too soon.
“None of them deserved this. We won’t see them again,” said the mother of victim Anthony Johnson as she wept in the arms of her family.
Officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department were initially called to the intersection of New York and Randolph streets around 8:15 p.m. March 13. Police found a woman identified as Jeanettrius Moore. She had been shot and was taken to a hospital, where she told police more victims were in a house on Randolph. She told police that the shooting suspect, Malik Halfacre, 25, was her boyfriend and the father of her 6-month-old daughter. She said he had shot her and other people in the house and that he took the infant with him when he left, according to court documents.
A pretrial conference is set for Halfacre on May 14.
On Friday, people at the vigil held each other closely and had tears in their eyes as they remembered the lives lost: Jeanettrius’ daughter Eve Moore, 7; Jeanettrius’ mother Tomeeka Brown, 44 ; Jeanettrius’ brother Dequan Moore, 23; and Jeanettrius’ cousin Anthony Johnson, 35.
Josh Munn was friends with Johnson for 16 years. He said for two weeks before his death the two had been in a disagreement; it’s time he now would cherish if he would have known it would be his friend’s final days. “I want to say that everybody needs to love their loved ones, because you have no idea when it may be the last day/ You know what I mean? This hurts man.”
Adelina Masker, 6-year-old who was Eve’s classmate, stood in front of the crowd wearing a shirt for her late friend and said with a smile, “I love Eve” as the girls’ teacher watched and held back tears.
A prayer was said; friends and family hoped to move forward despite the pain that haunts them.
“The blessings that were taken from us on that day can never be replaced. The hurt will never go away. The nightmares will never go away,” said Shawn Brown, the uncle of Jeanettrius Moore.
Jeanettrius courageously spoke publicly for the first time since watching Halfacre take those closest to her away forever. “I just want to thank God for my mother, my daughter, my brother, my cousin.”
Holding each other tightly, they released balloons into the sky as they thought back to simpler times before their lives were turned upside-down.
“You got to cherish what you got before it is gone,” Jeanettrius said.
Silent No More, a local group that advocates against domestic violence and helps victims of abuse, organized the vigil.
“This is something that is starting to happen every month. This is something that is increasing with calls every single day,” said Danyett Smith, founder of Silent No More.
IMPD defines domestic homicide as involving intimate partners, and that includes the tragedy on Randolph Street.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to more domestic homicides for Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. “In 2019, we had a total of 13 domestic violence homicides that occurred. In 2020, it went up to 19, and, in 2021, we are already at 11,” said IMPD Officer Genea Cook.
Surviving family members told News 8 that the funeral for three of the victims will be Saturday. Anthony Johnson will be laid to rest on Monday.
If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence, call police or reach out to Silent No More at (317) 728-6733.