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Family of KIPP Indy shooting victim speaks out, community searches for answers

gun violence solutions
Posted at 8:15 AM, Nov 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-06 23:08:41-05

INDIANAPOLIS— On Sunday night, a balloon release was held to honor the life of Devin Gilbert.

His family tells WRTV he's the 15-year-old who was shot and killed outside of KIPP Indy on Friday.

balloon release

"Devin’s life mattered, so I’m here to let y’all know that his life mattered. "He was a happy, funny 15-year-old boy who worked hard," said Ashanti Beene, Devin's cousin.

On Sunday, several gatherings were held across the city to discuss what can be done when it comes to gun violence and teens. So far this year, more than 20 teens under the age of 18 have been killed.

On 23rd and Hovey, near the school, a prayer circle was led by Pastor Dennell Howard.

prayer circle

"We have to do better. In these unprecedented times, we need unprecedented ideas and thoughts. We need to do something different," said Howard.

"You see it every day, but when it’s your family it makes a big difference," said Jacqueline Pepper Hatton, Devin's cousin.

Hatton was at the vigil expressing frustration for the ongoing violence and wants to see tougher punishments.

"They’re not scared to go to prison. They’re not afraid of prison, so you’re going to have to come with the next step," said Pepper Hatton.

Next steps were being discussed at the 37th Place Community Center. Moms, most who have lost kids or loved ones to gun violence, were in attendance.

"We need the community to get together like this because we’re mad," said Beene. "You know it’s heart breaking that we are losing our babies. We have teenagers that are afraid to go to school."

Some of the solutions that were discussed included shutting down Airbnb parties, having block parties to get to know your neighbors, and more resources at funerals.

Beene says she'd like to see moms form something similar to the Ten Point Coalition.

"Think if we get out as parents and show force. Show a force you know mothers come together in groups if there’s gonna be a party if there’s ten mothers out there and we're dressed the same you know all eyes are on you," said Beene.