INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The number of minors killed by gun violence in 2015 jumped to eight after two teenagers were shot this weekend.
Police said 17-year-old Steven Kendall was shot to death outside a convenience store on New York Street Sunday.
Later that day, 17-year-old Coriana Johnson and 18-year-old Makayla Mitchell were shot and killed while sitting in a parked car near 21st Street and Berwick Avenue.
Besides eight minors being killed, IMPD said another five minors have been suspected of murder. Last year, IMPD said 13 minors were killed while another 10 were suspects.
The stories of young lives being cut short have filled the headlines this year. Last month, 10-year-old DeShawn Thompson was caught in the crossfire while standing outside at a neighborhood party. In August, 16-year-old Jaylen Johnson was killed in the 300 block of West 31st Street.
But the first minor killed in 2015 was 13-year-old Ashton Harting.
“I still think about him on an everyday basis, and so does my sister, Ashton’s mother. She cries every day,” said Amanda Harting, Ashton’s aunt.
Ashton was shot and killed in Januar while out walking with a friend in the middle of the night. It happened along Decamp Drive on the far east side.
The charges against the suspected shooter, Dino Thompson III, were dropped after prosecutors couldn’t find their key witness.
“Everything does happen for a reason… maybe to open your eyes up, but not for a child to get murdered,” Harting. said
Her family can’t change the past. It’s why they’re looking to the future, hoping the violence that’s killing children and teens stops. But they feel the responsibility doesn’t fall solely on the youth.
“At the end of the day you’re their parent,” said Harting. “You’re supposed to be in charge of them. You need to make sure that they do the right thing. And if you don’t, there’s consequences for every action you make in life.”
A parent herself, Harting tries to live out that message. And as she stood by her daughter, who wears the ashes of her dead cousin around her neck, Harting offered up one more message.
“You got to love your child every day like it’s their last day,” she said.