Indianapolis News and Headlines


Indy's Unsolved: Open homicide cases piling up in Indianapolis

Nearly 60 of this year's homicide cases still open
Posted at 6:49 PM, Sep 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-10 18:49:41-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- One hundred people have now been killed in Indianapolis this year – and more than half of those crimes remain unsolved.

Of those 100 homicides, 36 have resulted in an arrest, and five have been cleared.

The majority, though – 58 as of this writing – remain unsolved. Of those, 74 percent are black men. Black men make up a similar portion of the city's total homicide number – about 71 percent.

Of the approximately 43 cases where police have identified a suspect in the crime, about 80 percent (34) are black men. Seventeen of those suspects – exactly half of them – are 25 years old or younger. The youngest: 16-year-old Zion Smith.

Smith and his alleged accomplice, 18-year-old Jaquisha Love, are accused of shooting two people during a robbery July 19 on the 400 block of Lasalle Street. One of those victims, 18-year-old Dayron Staten, was killed in the shooting.

But Smith's arrest isn't the norm. Homicide detectives face a steep, uphill battle trying to solve cases. After the high-profile murder of Amanda Blackburn last year, law enforcement officials from IMPD to the U.S. Attorney's Office decried the culture against "snitching" and begged people to come forward.

They eventually did – and three men were arrested for Blackburn's death – but it's not enough.

"The most odious and insulting name you can call anybody in a middle school or a high school is a snitch," U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said after Blackburn's murder. "They define a snitch as anybody that talks to law enforcement – ever. Somebody needs to turn that around."

Explore the map below to see info on all of 2016's unsolved homicides:

MAPS | See all of 2016's homicides in Indianapolis | 2016 Unsolved Homicides by IMPD District

Rev. Charles Harrison, who has worked to combat violence in Indianapolis for years with his Ten Point Coalition, has decried the "code of silence in our streets."

"We have buried our head in the sand and have not addressed this whole issue about not snitching, and we've become numb to the violence," Rev. Charles Harrison told RTV6 in October. "We have to say to our community that that is unacceptable. That we're not going to allow young people and those who are involved in criminal activity to hold our neighborhoods hostage to domestic terrorism. October. "And we have to be more vocal, there has to be more Rev. Harrison's across the city, and community leaders, that are echoing this so that we change the norms on the streets so that it becomes acceptable again for individuals who have information about violent crimes to bring that forth to the police so that we can get these killers and dangerous people off the streets."

FULL INTERVIEW | Rev. Harrison: We've become numb to the violence

In some cases, even when witnesses do come forward, prosecutors still see their cases fall apart.

Last week, a man police and prosecutors described as "the leader of a dangerous gang intent on … promoting violence and fear" – Richard Grundy III – was released on bond after five murder charges against him were dropped when it was determined a key witness had lied about her identity.

MORE | Alleged Grundy Crew leader linked to 7 murders in Indy released on bond | "Grundy Crew" accused of murder, drug dealing |Prosecutor: 7 killed by Grundy crew since 2013 | Murder charges dropped against alleged Grundy Crew leader

If you have information about a crime, whether it's a homicide or not, you can leave an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-TIPS. Over the past 40 years, more than 57,000 tips have come in through Crime Stoppers – resulting in more than 5,200 arrests, 362 firearms taken off the streets and nearly $7 million worth of property, case and drugs recovered from felons.