15-year-old’s death brings renewed call for responsible gun ownership

Local

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Police on Friday again urged parents to be responsible gun owners following the shooting death of 15-year-old Khalil Bankhead.

The advice from Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department came as investigators said a juvenile accidentally shot himself inside a vehicle on the city’s north side. The boy was taken to a hospital but died from his injuries.

The fatal shooting happened around 2 a.m. Friday in the parking lot of the Harcourt Road Apartments, in the area of 86th Street and Harcourt Road.

Two teen juveniles, who were present at the time of the shooting, were taken into custody by police for questioning. Investigators believe the three juveniles did not live in the apartment complex and did not immediately know if anyone else was present at the time of the shooting. There have been no arrest, IMPD said Friday night.

Mike Hewitt, an IMPD public information officer, said gun owners should keep their weapons locked away from children and buy safety lockboxes and gunlocks.

“They’re gun trigger locks that are available through our parties at the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, and you can pick those up at the Central Library and any at the library locations throughout Indianapolis,” Hewitt said. “The gun trigger locks are also available through Riley Children’s Hospital.”

An Oct. 16, 2016, Facebook post from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office shows gunlocks it offers free of charge. (Photo Provided/Marion County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook)

IMPD said weapons or ammunition should not be left inside a car. “Open carry” is allowed with a gun permit, but ammunition should usually be locked away separately.

Hewitt said, “We encourage you to either leave that gun at home or, if you feel like you need to carry it for your personal safety, as that’s your right, to secure that in your trunk inside of a locked box in that trunk.”

Local gun owner Jaylen Thomas told News 8 about his gun, “Keep it in the holster at all times. If it has a safety, keep the safety on, only put your finger on the trigger if you’re ready to shoot.”

IMPD also suggested gun owners always treat a gun like it’s loaded at all times. “You may have just unloaded it and you may have safety-checked that gun to make sure that it’s unloaded and secure,” Hewitt said.

The department also recommended families take a gun safety class.

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