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'It has now escalated to a different level': Leaders promote resources after deadly weekend

domestic violence
Posted at 9:25 PM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 21:27:30-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Frustrated and disappointed: two words IMPD shared at a press conference Monday morning in regard to the weekend’s violence across Indianapolis. Police say seven people were shot and killed across four incidents in the city. Five of those victims, including a 7-year-old child, were victims of domestic violence.

READ | 'Another great loss': Indianapolis reeling after 7 killed in shootings over weekend

The first incident was on the city’s south side around 7 p.m. Saturday where a 23-year-old woman was found dead. A search for a missing 7-year-old from the scene then ensued, but he was later found just after midnight police said with family. Marco Pacheco-Aleman, 28, was arrested in Floyd County and charged with murder.

Two hours later Saturday night, police responded to a quadruple homicide on North Randolph. Another woman was shot and an Amber Alert was activated for a missing six-month-old. On Sunday, 25-year-old suspect Malik Halfacre was taken into custody after an hours-long standoff on the city’s east side Sunday afternoon.

The victims are:
-Tomeeka Brown, 44
-Anthony Johnson, 35
-Dequan Moore, 23
-Eve Moore, 7

Both children were found unharmed over the weekend.

Police say Halfacre is now charged with four counts of murder, one count of robbery and one count of attempted murder. At this point, there is no definitive motive, but IMPD said an argument did escalate the situation.

"Sometimes in the home, people are spending more time together, kind of being trapped there in the home together than they have before. Like Chief Taylor said, there are resources out there, we encourage anyone who might be living in any kind of domestic violence situation to reach out,” IMPD Deputy Chief of the Criminal Investigations Division Craig McCartt said.

Danyette Smith with the domestic violence resource group, ‘Silent No More’ said she was on scene of the North Randolph quadruple homicide.

“Everything in me just dropped because it has now escalated to a different level in Indianapolis,” Smith said. She continued, “Every time I speak to a victim. They are in the same shoes I was in 2012, when I looked up and said, ‘When I get out of this, I am going to help those that are just like me.’”

Seven years ago, Smith started her organization as a way “to give voices to the voiceless.”

Her passion to help domestic violence survivors stems from her own story.

“I am a survivor of domestic violence. I went through domestic violence for ten years with my child’s father. The first blow came, it was a hit directly to the eye, very unexpected,” Smith said.

The founder and executive director of Silent No More said when the lockdown started, the organization saw a 110% increase in calls and runs. Today, she said, that number has fallen slightly in recent months to 83%.

“For domestic violence homicides we were really seeing such a trend downward in the state and this year during the pandemic it’s been really a setback for us,” Laura Berry, executive director of the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said.

Berry said domestic violence-related deaths have spiked since March, a 113% increase. On average, Barry said there are 30 to 50 domestic violence homicides a year, but since the pandemic started there have been more than 100 and nearly 70 since July.

“We’ll come out on the other side, but right now we need to make certain that those in a dangerous situation can get the help and support they need,” Berry said.

Both women agree the pandemic creates the “perfect” environment for domestic violence to thrive. Isolation, mental health issues and finances all contribute to the problem.

For those in a domestic violence situation or believes someone else may need help, here is a list of resources:
Silent No More: 317-728-6733
Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence: 317-917-3685
Julian Center: 317-920-9320
National Domestic Violence Hotline: text “LOVEIS” to 22522