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Gun violence sparks concern in parents, City hires peacemakers to help prevent the violence

Indy Peace Fellowship
Posted at 7:21 PM, May 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-31 20:00:21-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Gun violence has impacted hundreds of local Indianapolis families. Within a week, there has been more than a dozen shootings.

“It’s just so unnecessary,” Ericka said.

Ericka is a mom of nine. She is frustrated with the gun violence happening across Indianapolis.

“I like to see people live, not die. Die for what? There’s too much life to enjoy. Let’s live. It’s a beautiful day,” she said.

Wednesday, she watched as her little ones played at Riverside Park.

“I am just being responsible, knowing where they are and being active with them,” Ericka said.

It’s the same park that has recently been targeted by gun violence.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to deal with things like this during the summertime when we should be enjoying ourselves,” Robert Downey said.

Della Brown is one of the 40 peacemakers hired by the city. She says they respond to every shooting scene in efforts of preventing retaliation and providing families with resources.

“The outreach workers locate and engage those who are at high risk of being victims or perpetrators to gun violence,” Brown said. “Violence interrupters go to places we avoid, getting information from people and connect them with life coaches. The coaches walk them through a 12-to-18-month intensive care management.”

Brown says they target 18 to 35-year-olds.

Community members say they appreciate their efforts but feel more needs to be done.

"Unfortunately, we still have work to do here in the city," Downey said. “As the workers, it’s hard to tell, but we’ve had interactions with people who have lost loved ones and we’ve had those tough conversations with them to try and stop retaliations.”

Brown encourages the community to hold the peacemakers accountable and let them know where they're needed.

"We all have phones. We all have numbers. We have our website. If there is anywhere the community feels we need to be, just reach out and we will be in that area to make sure all grounds are covered," Brown said.