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'This makes no sense': Officials look for answers after 12-year-old shot in family's home

'This makes no sense': Officials look for answers after 12-year-old shot in family's home


Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana allows Indianapolis residents to share anonymous tips with law enforcement. Wochit

Update: Dayshawn Bills died about 5 p.m. Friday, his family told IndyStar.

City leaders Thursday morning were once again left searching for answers to Indianapolis’ unprecedented spike in violence after yet another shooting.

This time, a 12-year-old boy was left in critical condition when he was hit by a bullet fired from the street as he sat in his grandmother’s home playing video games with family shortly after 3:30 a.m. 

“This cannot be the lived experience of families in our city — anywhere in our city,” Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said during a press conference outside the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s East District Headquarters on Thursday.

Law enforcement officials believe the shooting in the 3400 block of Leland Avenue on the northeast side of the city was a drive-by. Officials said they were “not sure” whether the house was targeted in the shooting but said no suspects have been taken into custody.

Family members of the boy, Dayshawn Bills, told IndyStar the 12-year-old was in his grandmother’s living room playing video games when they heard five gunshots. Bills, a seventh grader at Arlington Middle School, was shot in the back of the head.

“It was just a sleep over at (the) grandmother’s,” Latoya Marlin, Bills’ cousin, said. “Your grandparents’ house is even more safer than your own house. At least it’s supposed to be that way.”

Marlin said the family has been “very upset, very sad, very overwhelmed” in the hours after the shooting. She said Bills is brain dead from the gunshot, and the family is planning to take him off life support. 

“There’s no brain activity,” Marlin said. “There’s no way they can do any type of surgery to save him.”

Hogsett during the news conference pleaded with the community to come forward with information about the incident, saying the city is doing “everything that we can think to address the spike in deadly violence in Indianapolis.”

He pointed to the city’s increased funding to violence-reduction groups and programs, a step-up in IMPD’s beat policing efforts and the work of neighborhood and church organizations as ways the city has tried to get a handle on the violence.

Still, he said, it hasn’t been enough.

“We need more information from those who know or are aware of the relative few who perpetuate these callous acts of deadly violence,” Hogsett said. “We need our community to say enough is enough. Violence is not the answer — cannot be the answer — to conflict.”

“The lives of too many of our young people are at stake,” he added.

‘We have seen this far too often’

There have been 249 non-fatal shootings in Indianapolis so far this year with 277 victims, according to data provided by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. 

And the city has recorded 95 homicides to date in 2021, up from 74 the same time in 2020 — a year that saw the city break its own record for homicides with a total of 245. 

IMPD Chief Randal Taylor on Thursday said the violence keeps him “awake at night trying to figure out what is going on.”

“This makes no sense, to be honest,” Taylor told reporters. “We’re at a point where people can fire weapons into homes without even thinking what the consequences could be. We have a problem.”

“I wish I had the answers,” he added. “I have confidence in my detectives and my officers — that they’ll do everything they can to identify and arrest those responsible for these things.”

Community leaders have also called on the residents to push back on the growing violence in Indianapolis and come forward with information.

One speaker at the Thursday news conference said the Indianapolis community “cannot leave it all to law enforcement.” 

Another, City Councilor Keith Graves, in whose district the shooting occurred, said he is frustrated.

“I’m very frustrated,” he said. “Our community is frustrated. And our city is frustrated. We have seen this all too often. And the solution is within our community.”

East side shooting: 4-year-old girl shot in car on Indianapolis’ east side, police say

More Indy crime news: 2 men fatally shot in city’s south and northeast sides, in separate incidents

Antonio Patton, an Indianapolis community activist who works to combat violence, sat with the Bills family Thursday morning. 

His voice broke as he addressed the community directly — first encouraging neighbors to speak up before demanding those involved in criminal acts to stop.

Patton also brought with him a message from Bills’ grandmother: pray for the family.

“She don’t want vengeance,” Patton said. “She wants justice. She don’t want another grandmother to feel what she’s feeling.”

Police ask anyone with information about the shooting to contact the IMPD Homicide Office at 317-327-3475 or Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477.

Contact Lawrence Andrea at 317-775-4313 or Follow him on Twitter @lawrencegandrea.

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Published at Sat, 22 May 2021 02:56:00 +0000