Pastor says he’s seen ‘too many prayer vigils’ for teen shooting victims

Remembering Lionel Carnell Jr.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — East side residents called for an end to gun violence as they mourned the shooting death of another teen.

Loved ones held a candlelight vigil Friday night to remember Lionel Carnell Jr., 17.

He was the city’s 12th juvenile homicide victim of 2019, according to police records.

Carnell was shot and killed Monday around 9 p.m. at the Meadowlark Apartments near 42nd Street and Post Road, police said.

Authorities had not made any arrests or released suspect information Friday night.

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Lionel’s sister, Lanyyah Conwell, told News 8 she “couldn’t believe” her best friend was dead.

“It just felt like somebody took a piece of my heart,” said cousin Liberty Carnell, the first relative to learn about Lionel’s death. “I saw him that Sunday. We had just come from church. Before I left, I gave him a hug, he helped me put my kids in the car, we said we loved each other and that was the last time I saw him.”

She remembered Lionel as a “goofy” teen who enjoyed rapping, “roasting” friends and playing basketball.

“He was just a good person,” Liberty told News 8. “You couldn’t help but laugh and talk to him.”

She and the family’s pastor, Kevin Long, urged teens to resolve conflict without deadly weapons.

Lionel had been arguing with an acquaintance from school before the shooting, according to friends.

“This is happening too often,” Long said. “There’s too many shootings killing our young people. We’re losing our brightest and best. [Lionel] was supposed to graduate this year.”

Long had been Lionel’s pastor since he was a child, he added; he should have been looking forward to celebrating his graduation — not attending his funeral.

“We’re supposed to be planning for proms and graduations and basketball games… not having prayer vigils,” Long said.

Anybody with information about the shooting of Lionel Carnell Jr. is urged to call Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.