Police learning from downtown shooting


Indianapolis police are using what they learned during a fatal shooting downtown Thursday night to make the city safer during the rest of the summer.

Sixteen-year-old Monquize Edwards Sr. died in the shooting. Police also arrested six minors downtown Thursday night for violations from disorderly conduct to having a handgun. Officers had to use pepper balls to break up some fights, as well.

Downtown Indianapolis can be two downtowns. Busy by day and sometimes chaotic and violent at night.

Edwards was shot and killed near Meridian and Maryland streets after the July 4 fireworks show.

"There was an officer standing at the corner of Illinois and Maryland," said IMPD Commander Karen Arnett, "trying to clear the kids from in front of the Steak 'n Shake."

What does it say when somebody shoots a person with a police officer just 100 feet away? That's the problem - police often can't see what's happening.

"Because there were so many individuals around when the teen was shot, it was very difficult to see who did what. By the time we heard the shot, turned around and looked, the teens took off running," Arnett said.

That's why officers spend a lot of their time trying to break up large groups.

Demetrius Hawkins was downtown Thursday night. He says some in the groups "they like to fight, they like to start scuffles with people they don't know. Last night, altogether, there were groups of 50-100 in one group."

There were 165 police officers downtown Thursday, stretched between fireworks, a concert on Georgia Street and other events.

Another complication, police say, IndyGo's holiday schedule meant the last bus home for kids left downtown at 8:30. Police say some kids didn't know that and were stuck downtown, hanging in large groups until they could get rides home.

Arnett says that's something that needs review for next year.

She also called the spot at Maryland and Illinois "a hot corner." Police plead with parents not to leave their teens unattended downtown and if they must pick them up, don't meet at that corner - it gets too crowded.

Feet away from that corner, the shooting victim is remembered in flowers where he fell. He's also remembered as "Monster," a nickname friends say he got because he was a great fighter.

But Edwards' great name and reputation may have made him a target.