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‘What happened was a mass murder’: 2 men, 2 women, child ID’d in shooting on east side

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Authorities on Sunday evening identified five people found shot to death in a home on the city’s east side.

Kezzie Childs, 42; Raymond Childs Jr., 42; Elijah Childs, 18; Rita Childs, 13; and Kiara Hawkins, 19, and her unborn son died in what IMPD Chief Randal Taylor called the largest mass casualty shooting in more than a decade in the city.

In a Sunday afternoon news conference, Mayor Joe Hogsett called the shooting “an act of evil in our city,” “a terror to our community” and “a mass murder” and vowed that local and federal authorities were coming for those responsible: “Coming for them today, coming for them tonight, coming for them tomorrow, and the day after that, coming for them as long as it takes to find them.”

Just before 4 a.m. Sunday, officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department were called to the 3300 block of East 36th Street on a report of a person shot and arrived to find a boy with gunshot wounds who was taken to an area hospital, Sgt. Shane Foley said at a press briefing at IMPD North District Headquarters.

The boy is expected to survive, Foley said.

Officers later received information that led them to a home in the 3500 block of Adams Street, where they found the Childses and Hawkins with apparent gunshot wounds. One of those victims, now identified as Kiara Hawkins, was taken to an area hospital, where despite life-saving efforts, both she and her unborn son, did not survive, Foley said.

The shooting did not appear to be a random act, Foley said, the investigation on Sunday remained very active.

Chief Randal Taylor while answering questions said there was no one to the department’s knowledge that was unaccounted for in the house where the people were found. He also said the incident was believed to be isolated “to this family and this house.”

Hogsett said the shootings were “an act of depravity that has become all too common across the country and that will never cease to shock the conscience”:

“This morning, one or more individuals perpetrated an act of evil in our city. While we are still learning more about the circumstances that led to this incident, I want to be very clear about something: What happened this morning was not an act of simple gun violence as tragic as a simple act of gun violence is. What happened this morning was a mass murder, the choice of an individual or individuals to bring — and I do not use these words lightly — terror to our community. I have already been in contact with the United State Attorneys Office for the Southern District of Indiana, the Indianapolis field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation … and federal law enforcement are coming for them, as I speak. Coming for them today, coming for them tonight, coming for them tomorrow, and the day after that, coming for them as long as it takes to find them. And we will not stop there. We will also determine whether the guns involved in this incident were illegally possessed. If they were, we will identify any individual responsible for illegally providing the gun for those who committed these acts. We will also identify and bring to justice anyone who has or does aid and abet those who are responsible. We will not stop until anyone complicit with this act of violence is held fully responsible.

“For a decade now, you know this, the city of Indianapolis has been engaged in a community conversation as to how we should best address the deadly confluence of drugs, substance abuse and poverty that has seen our city’s homicide rate rise to historic highs. Worse yet, the last year has seen a national surge in deadly gun violence, the causes of which are still debated but almost certainly are at least in part tied to the economic and personal anxiety faced by millions of Americans due to a global pandemic. But that is not what happened today.

“This is a crisis of morality, a crisis of conscience. This morning the city of Indianapolis was targeted with an act of depravity that has become all too common across the country and that will never cease to shock the conscience. I ask anyone who has any knowledge of this crime: Now is the time to speak, now is the time to come forward. I ask you to call Crime Stoppers. I ask you to call detectives, speak to one of our violence reduction team members. Be the person who says this type of violence, this senseless terror, has no place in our community. Today Indianapolis has lost much, including an unborn life. Justice will be done.”

Chief Randal Taylor said the shooting was “the largest mass casualty shooting in more than a decade” and said he was heartbroken for the lives lost:

“Just this last week, we talked about investments that we’re making, resources we’re devoting to stopping crime and violence here in Indianapolis: drug-related crimes, domestic violence, violence driven by poverty or desperation. What we saw this morning was a different kind of evil. What occurred this morning, based on the evidence that’s been gathered so far, is mass murder. More than that, we believe it was not random. There are no right words to say at this time, how the community must come to terms with the largest mass casualty shooting in more than a decade. I myself am heartbroken for the lives that have been taken too soon, for the young life that has forever been changed, and for the life that never got a chance to start. For the neighborhood left to pick up the pieces in the wake of unprecedented violence, and for all the family and friends that have been rocked by grief.

“I’m angry the perpetrators felt that they had the right to commit this senseless act in the community — in our community. I’m frustrated for my officers and for the crime scene technicians and for the coroners that had the spend their day and still out on that scene and will spend the days to come.

“But more than that, I’m determined. Determined to hold those accountable that committed this act, determined to be part of our community’s collective healing at this unacceptable crime and the even more trauma that’s already burdened our community this year. I am determined to work alongside every member of this community to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Because we as police can do a lot to improve our neighborhoods but we simply cannot do it alone.

“Now I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t know what goes through a person’s mind. I don’t know what kind of lie they listen to in their head that would tell them that pulling the trigger on anybody — but especially on this many people — is the right thing to do. I don’t think I really want to know, to be honest with you. But it does have to stop. Our community doesn’t deserve this.”

Police ask that anyone with information call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 317-262-TIPS (8477) or the IMPD Homicide Office at 317-327-3475.

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