INDIANAPOLIS - Police are looking for those involved in the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old boy shortly after the Fourth of July fireworks show in Indianapolis ended.
Monquize Edwards was shot outside Circle Centre Mall about 11:30 p.m. Thursday and died a short time later at Wishard Memorial Hospital.
At the time, downtown was filled with large crowds of people leaving the fireworks display.
The area where the shooting happened has been plagued by youth violence in recent months. Police and community leaders have been looking for ways to quell that issue.
Police said they aren't sure what led to the shooting, and they don't know how many shots were fired.
"It may be hard to determine that right now, because fireworks were going off in the area," said Indianapolis police Lt. Chris Bailey. "It's hard to distinguish those two things."
Detectives have been poring over footage from downtown security cameras, trying to see if there's anything that will help solve the crime.
Despite a rash of youth violence, police contend the downtown Indianapolis area is safe.
"It's probably the safest downtown, major metropolitan downtown in the country," Bailey said. "These incidents are very rare, and it's a shame that it happened last night on the celebration of our nation's independence."
Rev. Charles Harrison of the Ten Point Coalition, a faith-based community organization that has been working to combat youth violence, was downtown with his family watching the fireworks.
He says he was troubled by the outbreak of violence and feared something would happen, because he recognized a number of the young gang members his coalition has tried to work with.
"I was concerned, because, again, I deal with a lot of these young people and these kids, and when you see a lot of these different groups gathering downtown, you become concerned," Harrison said. "Particularly, when I don't think we were prepared as a community for these kids coming down who normally bring this kind of violence."
Harrison said he's concerned because the city is no longer working with faith-based groups to identify young trouble-makers and actively discourage them from coming downtown during big events, and he's especially worried that Thursday night's shooting will lead to a quest for vengeance.
"We are hearing today that there may be retaliation," he said. "So we're going to be spending a lot of time talking to the mother of the victim and family members and individuals that may be connected to the victim, so that we can try to prevent retaliation."
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard released a statement Friday expressing his sympathy for Edwards' family and calling for action to combat juvenile violence.
"As the events of last night show us, the administration, public safety, faith-based groups and other community partners need to redouble our efforts to confront the problem of unsupervised youth roaming free downtown and the parents who allow it," Ballard's statement said.
Police asked anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.
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