INDIANAPOLIS - A 16-year-old was fatally shot at a playground on the city’s northeast side Monday afternoon, police said.
The shooting happened near East 32nd Street and North Emerson Avenue just before 3 p.m. at the Hawthorne Place Apartments.
When police arrived, they found the victim near the playground with apparent gunshot wounds, officials with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said.
The victim, later identified as James Johnson, was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS personnel.
Rev. Charles Harrison with the Ten Point Coalition said that Johnson is a cousin of 16-year-old Monquize Edwards, who was killed in the July 4 shooting outside Circle Centre Mall, but police said Tuesday that the two victims were not related.
"We're dealing with everything on the back end so after someone is killed, we're trying to put out the fire when we really need to put it out on the front end," Harrison said.
Witnesses told police they saw three young black male suspects, possibly juveniles, running from the area after the incident, police said.
Lt. Chris Bailey issued an emphatic plea to anyone who might have information about who is responsible for this latest shooting.
"The street motto of 'no snitching' doesn’t apply here," Bailey said. "A 16-year-old young man is dead today, and if you know who something, if you know who did this, you need to tell us."
The Call 6 Investigators learned that IMPD officers have set up a special task force made up of police special units to investigate the shooting.
The Call 6 Investigators also revealed Johnson had a troubled past with police. He had spent the last few months in and out of handcuffs.
He was accused of confronting a mother and daughter with a gun in an attempted robbery in June, officials said.
Johnson was arrested in April of 2012 in connection with stealing candy from a store with friends. That May, officials said he was accused of beating two girls. He was also the focus of a gun investigation last September. In October of last year, he was arrested in connection with driving a stolen truck, officials said.
The Call 6 Investigators learned that IMPD spent the past weeks reviewing videos on social media near the Hawthorne Place Apartments.
Investigators are interested in possible gang activity in the area.
Detectives ask anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS (8477).
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