INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis recorded 271 homicides in 2021, making it the city's deadliest year.
In all of Marion County, there were at least 281 homicides. These include homicides investigated by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Lawrence Police Department, Indiana State Police, Cumberland Metropolitan Police Department and Speedway Police Department.
In 2020, Indianapolis set the now previous record with 245 homicides. The previous record before 2020 was set in 2017 with 179 homicides.
According to data from IMPD, October was the deadliest month in 2021 with 34 homicides.
As WRTV Digital Reporter Vic Ryckaert previously reported, there is no simple explanation for what's driving the surge in killings. IMPD Chief Randal Taylor told WRTV in November the killings have been fueled by disputes over things like drugs, gangs and other random beefs or slights.
"These are people upset with social media posts, feeling disrespected, parking spots, and just a variety of other reasons why people decide to pull the trigger," Taylor said in November. "None of which are good, and all of which are concerning."
Three mass homicides
In 2021, Indianapolis saw three mass homicides. No other city in the country, according to data from Gun Violence Archive, saw more than one mass homicide. There were 28 total mass homicides in the country.
The first mass homicide on Jan. 24 left five people and an unborn child dead. Raymond Ronald Lee Childs III, 17, is facing several felony charges after prosecutors said he shot and killed four members of his family, his brother's girlfriend and her unborn child.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Childs had gotten into an argument with his father because he had left home without permission and was told he would be in trouble "later."
Childs' court case is still pending, according to online court records. A status conference is scheduled for Feb. 23.
On March 13, an argument over a stimulus check led to the deaths of four people on Randolph Street.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Malik Halfacre, 25, was arguing with his girlfriend because he wanted some of her stimulus money before he opened fire on the family. She was shot and survived.
His case is also still pending, according to online court records, and a pretrial conference is scheduled for Jan. 13.
April 15, 2021. A day Indianapolis will not soon forget.
It was around 11 p.m. when eight people were killed at a FedEx Ground facility on Mirabel Road.
Matthew Alexander, Samaria Blackwell, Amarjeet Johal, Jasvinder Kaur, Jaswinder Singh, Amarjit Sekhon, Karli Smith and John Weisert.
271 Homicides. 271 Stories.
Each one of those homicides represents a person. It represents their family and friends who rang in the new year without them.
Each one of those numbers has a story.
WRTV continues to work to remember our neighbors who died in homicides. When possible, we're showing you their faces.
Like 20-year-old Koebe Clopton. He was a student at the University of Indianapolis and a former football player. His family told WRTV they believe his death may have been over shoes.
"I don't want his legacy to be forgotten. Make sure you remember he went out there on an academic scholarship, make sure you remember he was an honor student," Lyrik Clopton said.
And 17-year-old Ross Mitchell.
He was playing curb ball in the street with his younger brother when he was shot on Sept. 6.
His mother, Shonda Castro, told WRTV he didn't hang out in the streets and she tried to keep him inside so something like this didn't happen.
“I was home. I was in the shower," Castro said. "I heard the gunshots here out front. I came running out. My son was laying on the porch trying to breathe. He was shot in the heart."
She said he was in the Excel Center and getting ready to go into the military.
Instead of helping him finish school and join the military, she is fighting for answers and justice for her son.
And 60-year-old Johnny Purchase, a mentor for at-risk youths in the community.
He was shot and killed outside of the New Bridge Apartments on Jan. 12. His son told WRTV his father was working hard to connect with at-risk youth when he was fatally shot.
“We want to make sure we continue to do what he was doing within the community and if you can do anything try and save a life, keep his name alive and keep serving the community,” Jonathan Purchase said.
These are just three of the 271 stories. You can read more about those we lost, like 4-month-old Jaxson Thompson, 18-year-old Eric Colvin and 22-year-old Justice Willis, 32-year-old Ashley Bell and more here.