Mayor Ballard: Overnight shootings were not "random acts of violence"

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As Indianapolis Metro Police search for suspects in four separate incidents that left eight dead in a period of 24 hours, the community is also searching for answers to the violence.

Mayor Greg Ballard said in a statement Friday, "The past few hours have been challenging for the city. Any death under these circumstances is tragic. While no one deserves to be a victim, initial reports indicate these were not random acts of violence. The victims knew their assailants. I have complete faith in the men and women of IMPD and know they will work diligently to identify all suspects and bring them to justice."

Just before 5:00 pm Thursday afternoon, a 16-year-old was shot and killed in the 600 block of East 23rd Street. Three hours later, four people were found dead in a home on the south side in the 3400 block of Parker Avenue. Then just before 1:00 am, two people died after a shooting in the 2400 block of Stuart Street.

Also on Thursday morning, police found a man dead inside a home in the 2100 block of N. Kenyon St. That's near E. 21st and Shadeland Ave. Police aren't saying how the man, identified as 50-year-old Leroy Barker, died, but they have ruled his death a homicide.

Indianapolis' police chief says residents shouldn't be worried about increasing gun violence as long as they stay on the right side of the law.

Chief Rick Hite says such killings increasingly occur behind closed doors, and the killers and victims know each other. Hite says in most cases, both shooter and victim have criminal records.

The homicide rate in Indianapolis so far in 2014 is on track to be its highest in seven years.

Police statistics show the city had 20 homicides in January and February of 2013. It has had at least 25 homicides so far this year, with a week remaining in February.

The city ended 2013 with 125 homicides. That was the most since 2008, when 114 people were killed. That year also included the city's bloodiest month in the past seven years, with 19 people slain that July.

Detectives urge anyone with information about any of these incidents to call IMPD homicide detectives at 317|327.3475. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers of Indiana at 317|262.TIPS (8477). Callers may also text "INDYCS" plus tip information to 274627 (CRIMES).