INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Family and friends on Friday mourned a teenage brother and sister killed in their own apartment before school.
Nicholas Nelson, 16, and Ashlynn Nelson, 15, were getting ready for class at Lawrence North High School when they were shot and killed Friday morning at an apartment near 42nd Street and Post Road.
Family friends tell News 8 the siblings’ mom had just called to make sure the teens were getting up and ready to head to school when the shooting happened. Their mother works at a hospital and had left a little earlier to take their younger sister to day care.
“Your next architect, your next CEO,” family friend Antonio Patton said of Nicholas Nelson’s potential. “Can I say your next president?”
Nicholas had a 4.6 GPA.
About Ashlynn, he said: “beautiful, loved to dance, loved to smile, outgoing, full of energy.”
Patton, a community advocate who has known the family 25 years, was stunned by what happened and hopes surveillance pictures can bring the killer to justice.
“Our community has been rocked. Our community has been devastated. Two diamonds have been stolen from us prematurely,” Patton said.
Patton said he didn’t realize the teens were the shooting victims until he saw their mother at the scene. According to Patton, their mom “poured herself into them,” making them the people they were.
“Once she turned and faced me, I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe who it was,” said Patton. “My son, who is 14 years old, is broken.”
According to Patton, Nicholas and Ashlynn were close, though he was more laid back. And while Nicholas didn’t like being in pictures, Ashlynn loved them and was constantly taking selfies and videos.
“This is not a cliche statement: They were great kids,” said Patton.
Police who responded to the crime scene were accompanied by three Indianapolis peacekeepers, appointed by the mayor’s office.
“It makes me think that no one is really safe. So it makes our work even more prevalent,” said Jeff Cottrell, one of the peacekeepers.
Police have released photos of a person of interest, dressed in all black, fleeing the scene when officers arrived. They gave chase but lost him, even with the help of a police dog and drone.
No motive for the shootings had been offered by officials on Friday.
“We lost two young people today,” said Cottrell. “That’s two young people too many. My plea would be to anyone who comes across young kids, give them a hug, let them know you’re cared about.”
Patton had seen Nicholas and Ashlynn on Tuesday as he picked his own child up from the high school.
The family has lived for more than two years at the Postbrook Apartments, but this was Nicholas and Ashlynn’s first year at Lawrence North, according to Patton.
“I can’t find the words to describe the disappointment and disgust I feel right now,” Patton said.