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Community leaders strategize ways to curb the violence in Indianapolis

Posted at 12:12 PM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 12:29:58-05

INDIANAPOLIS — It's already been a tragic start to the year for the families of several people, who have been killed.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating nine homicides since New Year’s Day.

"They're not just numbers. They're actually human beings who had a future, who had a destiny. So, to see their lives cut short is disturbing to us as a community," Pastor Kenneth Sullivan Jr. of New Direction Church, said.

But this is a problem that spans city and town boundaries. WRTV spoke to a mother who lost her son to gun violence and is now doing what she can to curb the violence, whether it's happening in her neighborhood or not.

Dec. 26, 2018, is a day Mary Love will never forget.

"I would never wish this on my worst enemy, this pain because it doesn’t go away," Love said. She's the mother of Aaron Grice Jr.

Love got a call from her son just after 1 a.m., saying he had gotten jumped at Canterbury Apartments in Lawrence and needed help. Love and her daughter rushed to her son's rescue.

"We got out, she went to the right, and I went to the left and I was screaming his name out. The next minute I heard her scream," Love said.

Love found her son severely beaten and shot to death near a dumpster in the complex.

"We weren't expecting to find my son dead. We were expecting to find that my son had been jumped and beat up," Love said.

Three years later and still no answers as to who killed her son, Love is on a mission to help cease the violence.

"We just need to do more because the crime is not going to stop if we keep ignoring it," Love said.

A plea that Pastor Kenneth Sullivan Jr. has heard time and time again from the community.

"Though we've seen a lot of violent trends. I still have hope," Sullivan said.

Prompting him and other community leaders with the Indianapolis Urban Pastor’s Coalition to do something. In conjunction with their week of prayer, rolling out crime reduction programs, allowing youth to advance and find a better path in life.

"We have the advancing tech program. Our church has partnered with 1150 Academy and we're training students to be able to get skills that will allow them to make $50,000-75,000 a year," Sullivan said.

It's a resource Jaden Daniels believes is a key for success in the community.

"A lot of people get out of school and they're just getting an ordinary job. It's good to get in here so they can have money and fortune," Daniels said.

A positive start that has the potential to make a huge impact.

"We can't just think about ourselves and self-preservation. We have to look out for our fellow man and if they're doing well, we're doing well," Sullivan said.

The IUPC week of prayer continues at noon on Thursday at Whole Man Ministries and Friday at God's Grace Community Church at noon. They encourage the community to come out and be a part of the change they wish to see in the Circle City.

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