Grass Roots Organizers Hope Block Party Will Be the Start of Turning Around Neighborhood

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An Indianapolis community is launching a new effort to fight crime following a deadly shooting that injured a metro police officer.

Leaders in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood, say Friday's shootout on Dearborn was just the latest example of violence plaguing their area.

The suspect in that shootout, Quintico Goolsby, died Friday morning after exchanging gunfire with police.

Investigators believe he killed two women, Julia Morrow and Inity Morrow.

Officer Greg Milburn was also shot, but survived, thanks to his bulletproof vest.

Friday's violence was for many, just a story on the news.

For the children who live in the area though, just blocks away from where the gun shots rang out, such violence is the norm.

"They have to live it because its right here," said Randy Fields who was visiting a family in the neighborhood Saturday afternoon, watching children play on the sidewalks nearby.

Fields said it seems like the area is getting worse, in part he said, because of fewer resources for neighborhood youth.

"If you don't have something that's sustainable, you take the money out, you take the resources out, then people go back to what they know. They start doing things that are not beneficial to everybody in the community," he said.

28 year old James Wilson who grew up in the same area wants to change that.

Before he went to prison for 7 years for burglary, Wilson said he was a troubled teen, running the streets in Martindale-Brightwood.

"I thought it was normal to get involved in the streets. I thought it was part of my life. It's what I was supposed to do," said Wilson.

These days though, Wilson's in college at Ivy Tech, but it's a bigger mission that has him inside the school on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

"It kind of hit me, what is anybody really doing and who's doing something and I looked around and nobody's doing anything," said Wilson.

The 28 year old who's studying business administration, along with other grass roots volunteers, has started planning a summer block party for the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood in August.

"A lot of people just don't feel that Martindale Brightwood's worth investing in and I think it's wrong," said Wilson.

"The whole 46218 area code's worth investing in, cause if you don't invest in them, they're going to continue to kill each other. They're going to continue to spawn violence," explained Wilson.

Can a block party though, really end violence and turn an area around?

"It's not simply just come out and put people in a dunk tank and play games and get face paintings, though all that will be there," Wilson explained.

"It's to connect them with education, health, employment and mentorship program for the young individuals," he added.

Once the party's over though, what then? Randy Fields said he believes, the party's got to go one step further.

"Until you put some resources right here, not downtown, not up north, not across town, right here, then that's what you're going to get," he said talking about the gun shots, the police tape, the violence that for this area are the norm, rather than the exception.

The block party is set for August 2nd.

The challenge, according to Wilson and other organizers, is getting it planned in time.

Given the violence in the neighborhood this past week though, organizers said, it can't come soon enough.