Nov 6, 2023 - News

Four Indianapolis teens killed in last two weeks

Illustration of crime scene tape reading CRIME SCENE and DO NOT CROSS over a dark background.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

It's been a deadly year for Indianapolis teens.

Driving the news: A 15-year-old shot and killed outside KIPP Indy Legacy High School Friday afternoon is one of more than three dozen teens killed by gun violence in the city this year and the fourth in two weeks.

  • The KIPP student was identified by his mother as Devin Gilbert, according to the Indianapolis Recorder.
  • Another 15-year-old has been arrested in the case, according to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

Why it matters: Beyond the young lives lost, many other teens are impacted when they witness gun violence — like the hundred or more kids at a Halloween party where one teen was killed and nine other young people were injured in a shooting last month — or lose a friend or loved one to it.

  • Research has shown that exposure to gun violence can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and other mental, behavioral and physical health challenges for young people.

Catch up fast: 16-year-old Kalin Washington was killed and nine other young people — between the ages of 16 and 21 — were injured in the Halloween party shooting on Oct. 29, according to the IMPD.

  • IMPD said it received a report of a large party and officers arrived just after midnight to find more than 100 young people at a business park near 65th Street and Binford Boulevard.
  • While IMPD was waiting for additional resources, officers said they heard gunfire erupt at the party.
  • As officers cleared the building, they found several party attendees had barricaded themselves in different rooms once the shooting started.

The big picture: While the shooting at the party was anomalous for how many were injured, it isn't an isolated incident, compounding grief, anger and frustration on the eastside where all of the recent shootings involving teens have taken place.

What's happening: Young people have easy access to guns and can be quick to resort to violence to resolve feuds that often start on social media, said Kareem Hines, founder of a mentoring and youth development program called New B.O.Y. that works with boys and seeks to make "connection before correction."

  • "What we're seeing in our city is a lot of young men in pain, with no outlet," Hines said.

What they're saying: "Lives were changed that night and not just 10," Hines said of the Oct. 29 incident. "There are hundreds of young people with secondary trauma."

Zoom out: Firearm death rates increased sharply among Black and Hispanic youth nationwide during the pandemic, according to health policy nonprofit KFF.

  • For Black children, the firearm death rate doubled from 2018 to 2021; it increased by 50% for Hispanic children.
  • In 2021, the rate of firearm-related deaths among Black youth was six times higher than among their white peers.
  • Black children made up 14% of the youth U.S. population in 2021 but accounted for 46% of youth firearm deaths.

The latest: Police recovered six weapons at the business park scene and believe more than one person may have fired, but no arrests have been made.

  • IMPD announced Saturday that its nuisance task force and city prosecutors cited several promoters for their alleged role in allowing/marketing the unsanctioned event.

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