Dozens gather to remember victims of deadly week

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Within 15 hours of 9:30 p.m. Thursday, eight people were murdered in Indianapolis. A teenager was shot to death and four adults were found slain on the city’s southeast side. There were two other incidents that day.

The violence struck a chord with one religious group and they took their message to the streets to help stop the violence.

Gospel music echoed from the corner of 34th and Keystone Saturday afternoon to send a message: Stop the violence.

“It’s almost like it’s become a routine in our city, unfortunately,” said Rick Williams of Indianapolis.

Dozens of people gathered in a parking lot near the east side intersection for a Drive By Prayer Vigil. Some of them held hands, others said a prayer for families dealing with gun violence.

“A loved one has been snatched from you and this is a time we need to rise up as a city,” said a speaker.

The vigil comes on the heels of a violent day in Indianapolis.

“We are not dealing with the root issues. The root issues is that a young man needs a job, the root issue is that fathers are being separated from their sons because they’ve been incarcerated for longs period of time,” Williams said.

Rick Williams attended the vigil. He said the community needs to come together and stand up for what’s right.

“We have a serious problem. So we have to embrace one another on a back end even though I wish we did more on the front end to prevent it,” said Williams.

The Drive By Prayer Vigil also stopped in the area of 18th and Harding. It’s one of the city’s five most dangerous zip codes. The message was the same: Stop the killings and start loving each other.

“If the heart of a person is not changed, a heart of a city can’t change,” said A. Thomas Hill of Indianapolis.

Pastor Hill said some people are lost and need direction.

“We believe that Jesus Christ is the answer and that he is the heart changer,” he said.

Organizers hope with these vigils, they can help make an impact to stop the violence.

“I’m just glad to see the love out here. I’m glad to see that we care about each other, that we are concerned about one another,” Williams said.

The homicide total in Indianapolis so far this year is on track to be its highest in seven years. IMPD statistics show the city had 20 homicides in January and February of 2013. This year, police have investigated at least 25 homicides, with 6 days left in the month. Indianapolis ended 2013 with 125 homicides. That was the most since 2008, when 114 people were killed.

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