Indianapolis leaders saddened, frustrated after IMPD officer killed in shootout

Leaders say crime must be harnessed

INDIANAPOLIS - The killing of a 22-year veteran of the Indianapolis police force in a shootout on the city's east side Saturday night was just the latest in a string of violent acts against officers.

Saturday was a very long day for city officials, who had responded to a mass shooting in Broad Ripple during the early-morning hours, only to be faced with another crisis in the latest killing of a police officer.

MORE: 6 officers fatally shot in Indianapolis since 2001

In a news conference late Saturday evening announcing the death of Officer Perry Renn, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Marion County Public Safety Director Troy Riggs and IMPD Chief Rick Hite were emotionally drained, but steadfast in their demand that the violence come to an end.

Ballard didn't mince words about what he believes is the main issue.

"Police are in the middle of this. They keep re-arresting the same people over and over. That's what has to stop. Frankly, I'm just not going to accept the fact that we're going to allow the police to re-arrest these people over and over again," Ballard said. "They wonder why the rate is the way it is when it's pretty obvious to the rest of us."

Hite was adamant in his plea that the city's residents harness their outrage by speaking out, by reporting crimes.

"We all have to roll up our sleeves and send a message to those people who continue wreaking carnage and harm in our community that it's no longer IMPD that's not satisfied, that you as a community are not satisfied and you're willing to call and let us know where these people are who continue to wreak havoc and violence in our community," Hite said.

Hite also bemoaned the loss of an officer who will be difficult to replace.

"Who's going to replace that fine officer? Who's going to be the next one to take the oath?" Hite said. "Who's going to protect our community?"

"You think it's frustrating to me? How frustrating do you think it is for the guys that are wearing a uniform?" Ballard said. "They're doing it every night, having to put their life on the line every night for the same people."

Riggs echoed that sentiment, saying that officers who work hard to protect the city are doing everything they can, but need help.

"The city of Indianapolis was attacked tonight. The officer wears a uniform that represents the best the city has to offer," Riggs said. "It's frustrating for our police officers who are out there laying their lives on the line." 

Officers have been in the crosshairs of Indianapolis' criminals with more frequency recently.

"This is the eighth police officer shot in the past year-and-a-half," Riggs said. "We've lost two of those officers."

Dr. Thomas Hayward, of Eskenazi Health, said gunshot victims come in "too often."

"This is an affront to us as citizens," Hayward said. "When someone as brave as Officer Renn loses his life doing his job, it hurts."

Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter seemed at a loss for answers.

"I'm not sure what's happening with society," Carter said. "I wish people would value human life."

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