City Leaders Condemn Downtown Shootings

Police Report 3 Separate Shootings; 10 Injured

City, police and religious leaders on Sunday condemned three shootings that left 10 young people injured during the final weekend of Indiana Black Expo's Summer Celebration.

Police said the first disturbance broke out near the intersection of Illinois and Maryland streets just after 9:30 p.m. Saturday when someone began shooting into a large crowd.

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"Numerous shots were fired near the south viaduct that goes into the mall itself right there," Lt. Jeff Duhamell said.

Eight people -- all boys ranging in age from 10 to 18 years old -- were struck by gunfire in their lower extremities, police said.

A second shooting was reported a few minutes later at the corner of Georgia and Meridian streets. Police said a 16-year-old boy was shot in both legs.

Just before 11:30 p.m., a 15-year-old boy was shot in the legs in the 100 block of West Market Street, police said.

All of the shooting victims were taken to local hospitals and were listed in good condition early Sunday morning, Duhamell said.

Mayor Greg Ballard, public safety officials, Black Expo representatives and local clergy leaders had harsh words Sunday afternoon for the one or possibly two people thought to be responsible for the shootings.

"The only flaw I see in this is that a couple people came downtown to ruin the night for everybody," said Public Safety Director Frank Straub.

"When did it get to the point where our babies can pull the trigger without a conscious while innocent lives are in harm's way and police officers are standing nearby?" asked Tanya Bell, president and CEO of Indiana Black Expo, Inc.

Clergy members didn't hold back, telling parents they need to control their kids.

"I am mad as hell. I am sick and tired of us making excuses for some of our young people," said the Rev. Charles Harrison with Barnes United Methodist Church. "Some of our kids are out of control. Some of our kids are rude, bad and they don't care how they talk to people. They disrespect authority, and they don't respect property or life.”

Joshua Smith, 19, was one of the teens hit by gunfire in the first shooting.

"It went straight through. It hit no bone, none of that. It went straight through," said Smith, who was hit in the hip. "I understand everybody likes to have fun … But just because you like to have fun, you don't have to bring pistols and knives and stuff down there to mess up everybody else's fun."

Melanie Wills said she couldn't believe her 15-year-old son, Kalvin King, who underwent surgery on Sunday, had been shot.

"He called me and said, 'Momma, I got shot.' And I said, 'Boy, quit playing,'" Wills said. "It's a good event. I just think security ought to be just a little bit better."

About 500 police officers were assigned to downtown Indianapolis for the Summer Celebration, officials said.

Straub said next year the city may create a traffic-free "safe zone" where no weapons would be allowed.

"You reduce the curfew theoretically, yeah, but that's only going to take a portion of the young men and women off the streets," he said.

All official Summer Celebration events ended at 10 p.m. Saturday, and expo officials had urged teens to be home by curfew -- 11 p.m. for those 14 years old and younger and 1 a.m. for those 15 years old to 17 years old.

"This incident does not define Summer Celebration, it does not define Black Expo and does not define the city of Indianapolis, nor the African-American community here in the city of Indianapolis," Ballard said.

Police asked anyone with information about the shootings to call the department's homicide unit at 317-327-3475 or Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.