City leaders to encourage violence-free July 4th weekend

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Mayor Joe Hogsett, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, and community leaders hope to bring attention to the potential for gun violence this weekend as well as call for peace over the Fourth of July.

The goal is to change the narrative and highlight anti-violence events, initiatives, and programs ahead of what could be a violent holiday weekend. Last year, gun violence rocked Indianapolis neighborhoods over the Fourth of July weekend, leaving five people dead.

According to IMPD, homicides are down this year compared to the record-breaking year of homicides in 2021.

City and faith leaders plan to meet at Washington Park at 10 a.m. to encourage people to put their guns down.

Mayor Hogsett will also share an update on the city’s Peacemakers Program, just days after a vital member of the city’s violence reduction team was shot and killed near 34th Street and Keystone Avenue. Peacemakers, also called interrupters, cover high-risk areas of the city. Their duty is to connect people with jobs and offer conflict resolution guidance and other resources.

Faith leader Pastor Kenneth Sullivan of New Direction Church says today’s event is meant to show unity among leaders.

“It’s so important for the city, for communities of faith to all work together with the messaging that we want our community to be safe. We want people to know that we care about safety within our community. So, kudos to our mayor for understanding the importance of the voice of those within the faith community,” said Sullivan.

Pastor Sullivan’s church is also launching a campaign over the weekend called “don’t lose your cool.” The program discusses tactics one can use to de-escalate situations.