INDIANAPOLIS — On Wednesday afternoon the Canal Walk was busy, to say the least. Families, couples, joggers and many others enjoyed the Downtown Indianapolis spot as the temperatures hovered around 90 degrees.
Through the traffic, bloodstains remained on the sidewalk as a reminder of a shooting that took place just hours earlier.
Angelica Martin heard the shots from her living room just after midnight. Her apartment overlooks the canal.
“I paused for a bit because I was shocked. I was like I don’t know, this is not real -- no way,” Martin said.
The 23-year-old said shortly after, she heard sirens. While Martin said she was shaken, she added she was not scared and wanted to come out to enjoy the weather.
“Violence happens everywhere and it’s just like you either live like that in fear or you conquer it and keep going,” Martin said.
IMPD said the investigation continues into exactly what happened overnight at the canal following a shooting that injured four women. A fifth person connected to the incident was also injured by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Deputy Chief Kendale Adams said it’s unclear why those involved were at the canal, but said the shooting stemmed from an argument between two groups who knew each other. He added they all were not from the Downtown area, but rather other parts of the city or surrounding areas.
Wednesday night, IMPD released a still image captured on a B-Link camera. They are hoping the community can help identify those involved through the photo.
“It does trigger you, right? It does upset you that someone would be so brazen to shoot on the canal,” Adams said.
Wednesday’s overnight incident was not the first time violence has occurred at the canal.
“It’s garnered our attention, we’ve recognized that,” Adams said.
Metro Police said over the years the department has invested in technology, overtime and the community to ensure the safety of the Canal Walk.
Part of the $9 million from the American Rescue Plan Act went towards upgrading many of the city and B-Link cameras in the canal area. Adams said the department has more than 100 views of the area.
While IMPD did not provide a specific number, the agency said several officers are stationed strictly at the canal walk from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. in the warm months.
“We'll continue to make those investments, I think, and we'll continue to work hard at trying to make people feel like they're a part of the solution,” Adams said.
Downtown Indy, Inc. Interim President Bob Schultz believes one incident doesn’t define the area.
“We work so hard to try to drive people back into the downtown core. And I have to address this perception of safety continually,” Schultz said.
He stressed the fact those involved in Wednesday’s shooting were not from the Downtown area.
“Occasionally crime enters our area in spaces like the canal and maybe the bar district that is very episodic,” Schultz said. “We have increased patrols, increased B-Link cameras, you know, there's so much that the mayor's office and IMPD are doing to increase that perception of safety and the response to safety and we pay attention to that. This is what our community needs.”
Schultz noted a 44% decrease in crime in the downtown area from 2016 to 2022.
“We're tired of people thinking that this is the space to resolve violence,” Schultz said.
The agency works alongside IMPD and others to share their input on safety plans.
“I wouldn't let my kids go after midnight and so why are there other young people there?” Schultz said. “Would I send my kids downtown at two o'clock in the morning or at midnight and the dark areas of downtown? I wouldn’t send them anywhere, not even my own neighborhood (that late).”
Both IMPD and Downtown Indy, Inc. agree even with the dedication, it’ll take the community coming together to put an end to the violence across the city.
“Police will continue to reevaluate their strategies, and we will continue to arrest people that, like we witnessed on the canal last night, we will continue to go after people like that, because they've shown a propensity not to care about mankind,” Adams said. “However, in those discussions, or in those strategies, we have to interlace a more broader conversation about what can we do? What can I do? What can collectively we do to really address this issue?”