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Indianapolis leaders frustrated after another violent weekend

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A day of sadness, frustration and anger followed another violent weekend in Indianapolis, which included the shooting of a four-year-old girl outside a funeral home.

“We’re beyond a crisis,” Fraternal Order of Police President Rick Snyder said. “We’ve been saying we’re in a crisis since 2019. I think we’ve now gone over a cliff. We’ve fallen into a state of chaos in the city.”

Just this past weekend, three people were found dead in two separate shootings Sunday night in residential areas on the east side of Indianapolis, according to police. On Saturday, a 4-year-old girl, a 16-year-old girl and three men were shot outside a funeral home on Indy’s near-northwest side. At last check, the 4-year-old was in critical condition. According to IMPD, as of Monday morning, there were 159 homicides in Indianapolis.

“Our concern is we’ve already seen a significant number of homicides in the first 2 days of this month,” Snyder said. “If we have another record level like we did last month, we stand a good chance of hitting 300 homicides before the end of the year.”  

Snyder points out that when you compare the populations of Indianapolis and Chicago, the murder rate is higher now in Indianapolis.

“Chicago is about 3.09 times larger than Indianapolis, by population. So, if you make that adjustment, per capita, we’re outpacing Chicago in number of homicides per capita by nearly 4%,” Snyder said.

Indianapolis City-County Council President Vop Osili called this weekend’s funeral shooting immensely frustrating. News 8 asked him for tangible solutions to city violence.

“The work that we’re doing right now which is providing more horsepower, more investment in our communities, our community leaders, has an effect and will have an effect. I think the challenge is that many of the members of our community think that there is a light switch that one can turn on and that it immediately stops. I want to be sure everyone understands this did not happen overnight. The amount of trauma and frustration that has led to this had built up,” Osili said.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett says investments in community programs are slowly making a difference.

“I think the city-county council and the $3.1 million that it appropriated just a month or so ago addressing mental health, juvenile justice, and other issues will have a profound impact. As I said, it will take time,” Hogsett said.

Snyder has offered solutions since 2020 that he says have been roundly rejected by officials.

“We have never advocated for locking everybody up and throwing away the key. What we have said is when we have known, repeat, convicted violent offenders and they are re-arrested on a new allegation of a violent felony, they shouldn’t get automatically released back into the neighborhoods. They should be held until a judge, the prosecutor and a public defender or defense attorney can get together and have an initial review of their criminal conviction histories to see what the risk is of releasing them back into society,” Snyder said.

Hogsett says he’ll present a budget to the city and City-County Council he thinks will be very public safety-oriented. Meanwhile, Snyder’s calling on the mayor to bring criminal justice stakeholders, faith leaders, law enforcement officers and the community to come together for a roundtable discussion to talk about how to fix this.

“Obviously, I’m very heartbroken,” Rep. Andre Carson said. “I think we all have a role to play. I don’t think this responsibility rests with one person. I think we have to have parental input, input from educators, input from law enforcement officers and lawmakers. We try to do our effort by offering a youth opportunities fair. We try to play our part by legislation. But, I think we have to deal with systemic issues that deal with our local economy, the underground economy as well and providing younger people with alternatives and dealing with the assault weapons ban that we have been trying to through Congress for the past two decades.”

“The only thing that’s going to help our city is prayer,” Derek Jefferson, the pastor of Jerusalem Temple, said. “Not politics, not money, not rubbing elbows with nobody. We’ve got to come together and pray.”

Jerusalem Temple hosted a meeting of faith leaders, elders and ministers as part of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance on Monday. They held a brunch to address 10 areas within the Black community, including health, education, gun violence, housing, police community relations and jobs.

Snyder provided News 8 with the four proposed emergency actions to help fight the summer surge in violence that were included in a July 12 statement:

1       Purchase and deploy a mobile and static gunshot detection system;
2       Purchase and deploy mobile and static license plate readers;
3       Staff the arrestee processing center 24 hours a day, particularly during the summer months;
4       Cease automatic low bonds for repeat convicted felons for all-new Level 6 felonies charged

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