IMPD investigating first two possible homicides of new year

Graydon Street shooting scene
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People in a southeast Indianapolis neighborhood are trying to make sense of a teenager gunned down in the street.

Detectives from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department are trying to find clues in the murder of 16-year-old Tyrell Alford.

"He was laying right in the middle of the street," said Eric Cavazos, a stranger to the teen, but one of the last people to see him alive. "I pray for the family and my prayers and my family's prayers are with you and whoever did it, you know, it was senseless."

Two men opened fire as Tyrell and another child walked near Graydon and Trowbridge Streets just after midnight. The 16-year-old reportedly told friends they were walking to meet up with someone.

When they got to the middle of the block on Graydon Street, gunfire broke out. Alford immediately went to the ground. Cavazos told Eyewitness News that the teenager took his last breath just seconds before paramedics arrived on the scene. An EMT pronounced him dead at the scene, according to police records.

The crime scene tape where he died stretched from one utility pole to another. That sight brought tears to the eyes of Indianapolis grandmother Shelly Thompson. She walked the neighborhood with her 12-year-old grandson Thursday, volunteering to shovel the sidewalk for their neighbors.

"Hurting people hurt people," said Thompson. "And there are a lot of hurt people out here and as you can see from my tears, I still hurt."

Thompson prays for the safety of her grandson and talks to him about staying out of trouble on a regular basis.

Court records show Tyrell was on house arrest and wore an ankle bracelet to have his whereabouts monitored by the juvenile court system. But on December 13, 2013, his family reported him missing after he left home without permission. The missing persons case remained active and open until juvenile detention authorities learned about his death on at the start of business Thursday.

The troubled teenager spent time at the juvenile detention facility for troubled youth. Detention employees referred to Tyrell Alford as a "good kid" who followed all the rules.

Alford's murder came minutes before the Circle City's second homicide of the new year.

Metro officers responded to the Hyatt Place hotel near Indianapolis International Airport.

Hotel employees told police 31-year-old Kristopher Griner ran into the lobby and collapsed on the floor. Paramedics rushed him to the hospital where he reportedly died from a fatal stab wound to the neck.

Griner's brother said he leaves behind two young children, and has started a memorial fund through Indiana Centra Credit Union. Keith Griner said all funds raised will be donated to the Salvation Army's Harbor Light in Indianapolis.

Both murders leave investigators searching for motive and suspects. Anyone can call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 317-262-TIPS anonymously with suspect information. The tip that leads to an arrest in either case will lead to up to a $1,000 cash reward.