INDIANAPOLIS — Violence downtown continues to be a problem, especially with so many people spending their weekends in the Circle City.
There have been at least three shootings in Downtown Indianapolis this year involving teens. The latest case happened Friday night on Monument Circle involving a 16-year-old who allegedly pulled the trigger.
Tasha Page has worked downtown for more than a decade. She was just getting off work in September when six people, including three juveniles, were shot on Maryland Street. In May, police suspected a 16-year-old of shooting four people, including three teenagers, also on Maryland Street downtown.
"It starts with the parents," Page said. "You gotta know what your children are doing at night. I feel like Indianapolis has always been a safe downtown environment, and now it's just getting a little out of control."
Heaven Wright, 18, has seen it firsthand, and her life was touched by gun violence in August when her sister, Shainita Caffey, was shot and killed in a car, along with a friend.
"She was over on Lafayette and Tibbs at a gas station at a stoplight," Wright said.
There was a dispute over money. Her friend, Miles Cross, 26, was shot five times. Then the killers turned to Caffey.
"In the midst of her getting shot, all you could hear her say is, 'I have a daughter. I have a daughter. I have a ... ' and by the mid-sentence, they shot her," Wright said.
Two men were arrested for the killings.
"We fought for justice, and they have them, but you shot an innocent person and it hurts us really, really bad," she said. "Even with you locking them up, that won't bring my sister back. She was beautiful. She was outgoing. Everything, anything I say is probably an understatement for who she really was because she was just that amazing."
Wright has some ideas of her own to end the cycle of violence.
"It's now popular to have a gun on your hip. We're losing so many people every day. Downtown, west side, any side, you know?" Wright said. "Kids need to get involved with mentors, groups and just positive stuff."
A city spokeswoman said they are working to create programs to get kids off the street, including a youth resource fair event next month to connect kids with job training programs.
"Honestly, it's like if the kid's not in sports, if they're not playing basketball, foorball, cheerleading or track, whatever, it is then they're out on the streets because they don't have anything else to occupy their time," Wright said.
MAY 5 | Four people shot in downtown Indianapolis
SEPT. 22 | Gunfire injures 6 people in downtown Indianapolis; police looking for person of interest
OCT. 18 | Police investigating after person shot at Monument Circle