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Six months later: The murder of Deshaun Swanson

Posted at 4:34 PM, Mar 19, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- Six months after the murder of 10-year-old Deshaun Swanson, Indianapolis police are no closer to finding his killer.

Swanson was fatally struck Sept. 19, 2015, by a bullet in a drive-by shooting while he was attending a gathering for a classmate's relative who had recently died.

MORE | Who killed Deshaun Swanson? | Child killed after shooting on city's north side | Community torn apart by 10-year-old's death

Witnesses told police bullets suddenly riddled the house on the 3900 block of Graceland Avenue, hitting Swanson and three others – including another child.

On the same night Swanson was killed, a 2-year-old was shot in the leg on the east side. That child survived.

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Swanson was a beloved member of his youth football team. Compounding the grief of his murder, parents had to find a way to tell their children, Swanson's friends, that their teammate was dead.

"They're kids," said Kizzy Mason, a teammate's mother. "You don't know how to explain … you see someone one day and you're never going to see that person again. It's so hard."

Despite the pain and outrage at Swanson's death, police said there's almost no evidence for them to work with. The situation was made especially untenable because of the close proximity of Swanson's death to another high-profile murder: Amanda Blackburn.

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Blackburn's murder generated national attention – but it also generated the arrests of three men accused of perpetrating the horrible crime.

For Swanson's family, there has been no such resolution. Indianapolis North District Commander Chris Bailey said it frustrates police as well.

"[The Blackburn] case had things this case did not," Bailey said. "There's DNA evidence and other evidence that the suspects left behind. Investigators were able to pinpoint and lead them backward to suspects. That was not the case here. People drove by in a car, and drove away."

At rally held after Swanson's death, the mother of another Butler-Tarkington murder victim – Clarence "Wade" Havvard" – begged for an end to the violence.

"I'm crying out to you, whoever it is, stop this," she said. "This is awful. This is painful and it's hurting everyone. It's tearing us all apart. People, stop this."

If you have information about any unsolved crime in Indianapolis, police urge you to call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS. Your call may be made anonymously.


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