INDIANAPOLIS - The fatal shooting of Indianapolis Officer Perry Renn underscores the harsh reality of what is shaping up to be one of the most violent and deadly periods in the city since 2006.
Renn’s shooting death also paints a picture of a disturbing trend of a criminal element that is no longer afraid to take on the police.
Renn is only the latest casualty in a major escalation of violence perpetrated against the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. In the past nine months alone, 32 officers have engaged in gun battles with criminals. Eight have been injured and two officers died.
"The acts of violence we're seeing, the lack of caring for human life is really concerning to us and it should be concerning to everyone in our city," Public Safety Director Troy Riggs said.
Only a month ago, IMPD East District Officer Greg Milburn survived a shooting with a man who had just killed two women in a home on the city's northeast side. Officials said a vest saved Milburn's life.
Some public safety experts believe that Metro police need to become more aggressive and employ stop-and-frisk tactics.
"I know a lot of people say you can't be aggressive, you have to worry about people's rights. Well, what about the rights of the citizens?" public safety lecturer Jim White said.
Both Mayor Greg Ballard and Riggs have gone to the state legislature to advocate for mandatory minimum sentences for individuals who engage in gun crimes. But some believe that the criminal justice system can't simply arrest its way out of this increasingly violent city.
"These individuals who are most prone to firearms violence are not deterred by their own incarceration. They are not deterred by losing their own life. We need to focus on root causes," Indiana University criminologist Prof. William Oliver said.
The individual arrested in Renn's death embodies the root causes of violence. The suspect was unemployed with multiple felony convictions, had multiple children out of wedlock and carried an assault rifle without a legal right to possess.
For the law-abiding citizens who mourn Renn's loss, there seem to be no easy answers for the city's gun violence.
"No respect for fellow humans -- uniform or not. People have to have respect for others," Indianapolis resident Jason Fedeler said.
"I don't have an answer. But I would like to say to the parents. You know there are guns in the house. Tell someone. Seek help. We need to band together to not let his life be in vain," resident Sue Lindsey said.
Follow Jack Rinehart on Twitter: @jackrinehart6
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