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Rays of hope peak through the clouds at vigil for murder victim

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Posted at 10:51 PM, Feb 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-14 23:39:22-05

INDIANAPOLIS — One more than one occasion, the area of East 42nd Street and Mitthoeffer Road has been in the headlines after violence or tragedy.

However, Friday night, the message that got through the dark cloud that seems to hover over the area was that of some bright spots of hope.

In the past two weeks, five people have been shot and killed at the Carriage House East apartment complex. One of them was 19-year-old Jalen Roberts.

"It's a lot to say about Jalen," his mother Kimberly Roberts said. "He was a lovable person. He loved people. He loved life. Most of all, he loved basketball."

At a vigil and resource-sharing event Friday, Kimberly Roberts celebrated her son's life and called on the community to use the opportunity to interrupt the cycle that she said creates repeat criminals and fuels violence.

"They can't get a job because why? Because they have a felony. They can't get an apartment. Why? Because they have felony," she said. "So they are trying to change their life, they are trying to do better but every time when they go knock on a door for help they get knocked back, so what do they do? They do what they have to do survive. They go to violence. They go to drugs."

Pastor John Girton is no stranger to vigils and eulogies after violent nights in Indianapolis, and he knows the far east side is where it happens often.

"Yes, things happen," he said. "The Bible reminds us that there will be days like today and last Saturday. There will be tragedies."

Girton wants the people who live at the Carriage House East apartment complex to know they are not defined by the bad and hopes they take advantage of the good like community centers and other resources.

"So many people drive passed communities like this and they roll up their windows and they turn up the volume on their radios and they drive past as if there are no dreams here," Girton said. "So we wanted to acknowledge one night through a tragedy that, yeah, we see your dreams and we want to love you through the tragedy so you can be those things that you dream."

Police are still looking for the suspect behind the Feb. 5 quadruple homicide. If you have any information, detectives ask you to call the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department at 317-327-3475 or Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477.

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