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Death toll of Adams Street homicides nearly unmatched in recent Indianapolis history

7 killed in 2006 shooting, 6 in 1981 incident
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Posted at 3:20 PM, Jan 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-25 16:08:07-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The magnitude of Sunday's shooting that resulted in the deaths of five people and an unborn child at an east-side house can be compared to two other mass killings in Indianapolis history.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randal Taylor called the shooting that resulted in the deaths of Kezzie Childs, 42, Raymond Childs, 42, Elijah Childs, 18, Rita Childs, 13, Kiara Hawkins, 19, and Hawkins' unborn child, "the largest mass casualty shooting in more than a decade."

On the evening of June 1, 2006, IMPD officers responded to reports of a shooting at 560 North Hamilton Avenue. When police arrived, they found seven people, including three children, who had been killed execution-style.

The victims included Alberto Covarrubias, 56, Emma Valdez, 46, Magno Albarran, 29, Alberto Covarrubias, 11, David Covarrubias, 8, and Luis Albarran, 5. It was the worst mass murder in Indianapolis history.

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A shooting at a house at 560 Hamilton Avenue in Indianapolis killed members of the Valdez, Covarrubias and Albarran families on Thursday, June 1, 2006.

Detectives arrested two men, Desmond Turner and James Stewart, in the following days. Turner received a life sentence, plus 88 years, in November 2009, while Stewart was sentenced in January 2010 to 425 years in prison.

Janie Covarrubias, a family member of the victims, told WRTV's Rafael Sanchez she became overwhelmed with emotion when she heard about Sunday's shooting at the house in the 3500 block of Adams Street.

"We are still at a loss of words when something like this happens. Our anxiety levels go up, and to this day, we haven't fully healed. Not sure if we ever will," she said. "We pray that the people affected today find peace during this difficult time. May God help the police and the people affected find justice and peace."

RELATED | IMPD: 5 people, unborn child killed in 'largest mass casualty shooting in over a decade' | Juvenile suspect arrested in Adams Street mass shooting that killed 5 people and unborn child

Nearly a quarter-century before the Hamilton Avenue killings, the city was shocked when a father murdered multiple members of his family.

On Aug. 21, 1981, King Edward Bell fatally shot his four children — King Edward, 6, Bertina Michelle, 4, Berkina Rochelle, 2, and Kingston Edward, 1 — with the words "Jesus take them all to heaven" scrawled in chalk on the wall of their north-side home, according to a United Press International report from the time.

Bell then drove to other locations in the city where he killed his estranged wife, 26-year-old Bertha Mae Bell and mother-in-law, Mary Kirby, and wounded his wife's boyfriend.

Bell, who was described as a "religious fanatic," was charged with six counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. He died by suicide in prison in 1987, the Associated Press reported.

RELATED | 'This violence has to stop': Community pleads for peace after mass homicide on Adams Street