Mother of victim hoping for justice, grateful for summer task force

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The mother of a homicide victim says she is glad to hear that officials have introduced a summer crime-reduction plan.

You can find more details about the plan here.

Each Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department district is conducting their summer initiative task forces a bit different. In the southwest district, a special team made up of four to five officers is targeting high crime neighborhoods.

They’re looking to get felons and guns off the streets. Those same streets took Elese Studdard-Grays’ son Jimmie, two years ago.

Every day, around the same time, she spends time singing and praying near the corner where her son was killed.

“I’m speaking to the mountain of hope,” Studdard-Gray says. She walks next to a memorial full of stuffed animals, and speaks out loud, words of comfort.

“This too shall come to pass, for I walk by faith and not by sight.”

Every step she takes, one of courage, and faith in the fact that justice will be done. Hoping her presence will be a reminder, to whoever killed her son.

“Why not let you see me every day,” she says. “When I talk to my son who’s no longer here: the life that you took. They killed my son right here in his car, July the 12th. 2012. I pray every day that I’m walking, that justice will be done.”

Her son was murdered in one of the areas the southwest district is targeting this summer.

“If we can, target these people… to get people off the street before they commit crimes like this,” said Officer Brian Thorla, IMPD.

He drives with two buttons displayed near the mirror, of Officer David Moore, and Officer Rod Bradway. Constant reminders of the work that needs to be done, and the risks officers take every day.

“It just reminds me of two officers who gave ultimate sacrifice to patrol our city,” he said.

Thursday, 24-Hour News 8 was along with Thorla as he conducted a traffic stop for IMPD’s summer task force. The car didn’t stop, but police eventually were able to apprehend the passenger who fled with a gun.

He was preliminarily charged with possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, possession of a handgun without a license, dealing and possession of heroin that was enhanced because of the gun, and resisting law enforcement as a felony because he fled with the gun. The driver who didn’t stop for police was charged with felony resisting law enforcement.

That’s work Elese, the mother of a victim, says she’s glad Thorla and others are doing. Work she believes will one day bring justice for her son.

“It’s gonna take time, its gonna take time,” said Studdard-Grey.

She says she’s working to do what she can to stop the violence.

Hoping to help those in blue, who are doing the same, and cracking down this summer.

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