INDIANAPOLIS — WRTV numbers show that at least five teens have been killed by gun violence this year alone.
One mother who knows the feeling of losing a child wants to help put an end to the violence.
“It does not just stop with the parents; it does take the schools, the churches, the community centers. It really takes everybody to work hand in hand in this,” Kianna Jones said.
Kianna Jones lost her son, Khalil Bankhead, on October 4, 2019 after a shooting on the Northside. He was 15-years-old at the time.
“He was the life of my house, he was very outgoing, he was very musically inclined,” Jones said.
The incident happened in the 8700 block of Pemberton Circle shortly after 2 a.m. in the parking lot of an apartment complex.
“I never got to see my son in the hospital — I had to identify him in the picture,” Jones remembered.
Now, she is hoping to be part of the change.
“We know that families across our communities deserve safe, supervised options for our teenagers,” Judith Thomas, Deputy Mayor of Neighborhood Engagement for the City of Indianapolis, said.
On Monday, the City of Indianapolis kicked off the Safe Summer program. The program offers a fun and safe option for teens this summer — an effort city leaders hope will help stop the rise in violence among Indiana youth.
Safe Summer runs from June 10 through August 5 at Garfield, Riverside and Washington Parks
“The last couple of years has been a challenge for kids in Indianapolis and it’s up to us make sure this summer is a safe summer for all,” Thomas said.
WRTV numbers show that five teens have been lost to gun violence in 2022. As of April 18, that number was three in both 2021 and 2020.
“I’m really just having to be the strong one in this situation - Khalil lost his dad when he was 7 to gun violence,” Jones said.
Khalil would have turned 18 later this year. Now, Kianna is fighting to make sure families don’t have to live a day without their children.
“Really just everybody just needs to have all hands on deck - just be supportive to the parent,” Jones said.