7 juveniles, including 12-year-old, wounded as gunfire rocks Indianapolis for 3rd straight weekend: Police

"We would ask for our parents to get involved," Deputy Chief Tanya Terry said.

March 31, 2024, 6:28 PM

Seven juveniles, including a 12-year-old, were injured when gunfire erupted outside a mall in downtown Indianapolis late Saturday night, authorities said -- the third consecutive weekend city police have responded to a mass shooting.

The violence occurred despite more than 25 officers patrolling downtown Indianapolis as part of a scaled-up police presence to control roving bands of juveniles in the area during the evening hours, according to Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Chris Bailey.

"My assumption, based on what we know right now, is that there was some sort of disturbance that occurred right before this and someone or persons decided to use a gun to solve that problem, which is never the right answer," Bailey said during a news conference early Sunday.

IMPD is investigating after multiple people were shot near Circle Centre Mall in Indianapolis, IN, March 30, 2024.

The shooting unfolded at 11:36 p.m. local time outside the Circle Centre Mall at the intersection of West Maryland and South Illinois streets in the city's Mile Square entertainment district and several blocks from the Indiana State Capitol building, according to police.

Officers patrolling Mile Square heard the gunshots and raced to the scene, finding six young victims suffering from apparent gunshot wounds, said Deputy Chief Tanya Terry, head of IMPD operations.

A seventh juvenile victim later showed up at a hospital seeking treatment for a bullet wound, Terry said.

She said one victim was taken to a hospital in critical condition but has since been upgraded to stable condition. She said the other victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries and are all in stable condition.

The victims range in age from 12 to 17, Terry said.

No suspects have been identified and no arrests were announced as of Sunday afternoon.

Investigators are asking anyone who witnessed the shooting to contact the police department's Aggravated Assault Unit. Investigators are combing through security video in the hope of identifying those responsible for the shooting, police said.

Terry said that based on the evidence collected at the scene, investigators believe there was more than one firearm involved.

"It is extremely concerning to us that so many of our young people have been victims of gun violence this evening. Once again we have a situation in which young people are resolving conflict with firearms," Terry said.

Before Saturday night's shooting, the IMPD said it had increased the number of police officers deployed to the Mile Square area to control large groups of juveniles circulating in the downtown area.

"Until there is some kind of crime committed, the officers can only observe the crowds and attempt to get them dispersed," Terry said.

IMPD is investigating after multiple people were shot near Circle Centre Mall in Indianapolis, IN, March 30, 2024.

Terry said she had a message for the parents of the victims: "I think everybody sees the messages in the evening at 10 o'clock of 'Parents do you know where your children are?'

"We would ask our parents to get involved in what their children are out doing, especially at these hours of the evening," Terry said. "This is 11:30 at night, the evening right before Easter. So, if you don't know where your 12-year-old is, I think that should be a priority for you."

Chief Bailey echoed Terry's statement.

"I'm extremely disappointed that we're here again talking about mass violence in our city," Bailey said. "We all have to take a collective look in the mirror and find out what more we can do to try to prevent these things from happening in the first place. But I will say this: It starts at home."

The shooting came a week after one person was killed and five others were wounded, including a police officer, during an early morning shooting outside a bar east of downtown Indianapolis, police said. Two uniformed police officers, who were moonlighting at the bar as security, engaged in a gunfight with the suspect, who was killed in the March 24 incident, according to police. One of the officers involved in the gunfight was shot in the leg and suffered a shoulder injury when he fell, police said.

On March 16, an early morning shooting inside a bar north of downtown in the Broad Ripple neighborhood left one man dead and six other patrons wounded, police said. A 25-year-old suspect was arrested in the shooting and charged with murder, according to police.

On Feb. 19, a 35-year-old woman was fatally shot and four other people were wounded when gunfire broke out inside a Waffle House restaurant west of downtown Indianapolis, police said. The shooting erupted during an argument between two groups of customers, police said. No arrests have been announced.

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