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Former Crispus Attucks HS student, basketball player ID'ed as man killed in overnight shooting

Harold Bennett and Chris Hawkins
Posted at 5:49 PM, Jun 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-02 17:51:32-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A community is in mourning after the shooting death of a former Crispus Attucks High School student and basketball player.

Harold Bennett, 22, was identified by officials Thursday as the man shot to death late Wednesday near an apartment complex on Indianapolis' southeast side.

"He was a great kid and an even better teammate," said Crispus Attucks High School Athletics Director Chris Hawkins. "I loved the kid and loved his family."

Bennett attended Crispus Attucks from 2017 to 2019 after transferring there from Southport High School, Hawkins said. During that time, he was a point guard for the Tigers. the school's basketball team.

He had a promising future in the sport, having signed to play for Southwestern Illinois College after graduation.

"He was infectious with his energy. He wanted to see his teammates get better. It's a terrible situation," Hawkins said. "He was just a kid. He's gone way too soon."

Bennett was one of three people wounded in the shooting Wednesday night, according to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

Officers responded about 8 p.m. to the 5100 block of Emerson Village Lane for reports of shots fired and a person wounded. That location is near Emerson Village Apartments, though police said it's unclear if the shooting happened inside one of the buildings.

One man was found shot there, and a second was later checked into a local hospital. Afterward, a third later identified as Bennett was checked into a separate hospital, where he was pronounced dead from his injuries.

The attack is not believed to have been random, police said.

Hawkins said Bennett's family is badly struggling with the recent trauma.

"It's going to be a day-by-day thing. It's a tough situation for a parent to lose one of their babies. It's just a situation where you've just got to pray and just get through it each day," he said.

Donita Royal works with Mothers Against Violence Healing Ministry, an organization that provides support to families like Bennett's who lost their children to gun violence.

Royal said she is overwhelmed by the amount of recent violence.

"When you get to the point where you don't know what to say but are still hurting, and then still seeing all the violence and mothers still crying ... it's painful," Royal said. "I am speechless as I continue to move forward and help with the mothers."

Royal added that many people have lost their friends in shootings and are dealing with trauma as a result. She said there's also a mental health aspect to gun violence within communities.

Nevertheless, she urged families to never give up hope.

IMPD Officer Matt York said the agency is working to find leads in this case and other violent crime investigations.

"We're still very much laser-focused on deterring violent crime, finding those that are committing violent crime, finding those that are continually doing these acts. That has been our focus now for a while. That's going to continue being our focus."

York also reiterated a point made repeatedly by IMPD: find a way to resolve conflicts without resorting to violence.

"Just know that your life is worth more than what's going on in some of these arguments. Take some of the emotion out of it if you can. Walk away. Think about your friends, your families, your loved ones, your neighbors. Try to resolve situations at a later time. This stuff is just not worth it."

To date, no arrests have been made in the case.

Anyone with more information was urged to contact IMPD Detective Erika Jones at 317-327-4275 or Erika.Jones@indy.gov. Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477 (TIPS).

WRTV Reporter Adam Schumes contributed to this story.

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