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'He was like sunshine' : Family, community remember Javian Rhodes

javian rhodes
Posted at 10:34 AM, Nov 21, 2021
and last updated 2022-02-16 12:10:01-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The sound of prayers and the release of balloons filled the air at Gardner Park Saturday afternoon as family and friends of Javian Rhodes, 18, gathered to remember his life.

Rhodes - a son, brother, nephew and friend - was found shot and killed at the park Tuesday.

"He had a big heart. He was like sunshine, always had a smile on his face," his aunt Ciera Thomas said.

Thomas says he is deeply missed and will be forever loved.

"He was growing to be a young man and a very positive young man. Every time I see him, he was loving with his arms open," she said. "He just gave me a hug and said 'I love you' all the time."

Another aunt, Ciagn Bartlett, also said Rhodes hugged her every time he saw her.

"That dude was so laid back and soft spoken and an overall homebody. My nephew didn't deserve this, he had so much ahead of him," Bartlett said.

Donald Edwards, Senior Pastor of the Church Of Glory, organized the vigil and led prayers.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact IMPD detective Stephen Smalley by phone at 317-327-3475 or e-mail at

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