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Indianapolis clergy gathers for peace march, violent crime discussion

The clergy and community leaders hope to address the more serious issues right away like violent crime such as Indy's ongoing murder rate.

INDIANAPOLIS — There is a community response underway about a chaotic scene that played out Saturday during a funeral on Indy's northwest side.  

Emergency crews responded to 911 calls about multiple people injured by gunfire outside a funeral home not far from the church where Rev. Charles Harrison has been a pastor for years.

"I thought I heard gunshots," Harrison said.

The gunshots were just a few blocks away from Harrison's church, so he went to investigate what he heard only to stumble upon a chaotic scene. He immediately recognized some of his own church members who were attending the funeral. 

"When I get out of my car, people started coming up to me telling me that 3-5 people had been shot," said Harrison.

RELATED: 4-year-old girl among 5 injured in shooting outside Indy funeral home

The shooting stemmed from an argument outside the funeral home and left five people injured, including a four-year-old girl. 

Harrison attended a meeting Monday with dozens of clergy from all denominations organized by Pastor Derek Jefferson of New Jerusalem Apostolic Church. Jefferson has been working for months on organizing the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Greater Indianapolis. 

They have huge goals to address social issues plaguing the city of Indianapolis. They are forming teams made up of clergy and community leaders that will tackle different topics with action plans such as health, education, drug use, gun violence, police-community relations, housing, employment, Juvenile crime, domestic violence, and Black-on-Black crime. 

Credit: WTHR
Pastor Derek Jefferson

"Politics has had its chance," Jefferson said. "The only thing that is going to help our city is prayer. Not politics, not money."

The clergy and community leaders hope to address the more serious issues right away like violent crime such as Indy's ongoing murder rate. That is also something that has repeatedly plagued Jefferson's family.

RELATED: Peace march organized for Monday after funeral home shooting that injured 5 people

"Nobody knows the impact of violent crime more than me," said Jefferson, "Seventeen family members of my family have been murdered in the past five years and are unsolved cases."

The meeting of clergy and community leaders had been in the planning for weeks, although the peace march is a direct result of Saturday's shooting, which likely won't be the last action taken to try to stop the violence.

"A thousand prayer walkers, every city, every community even if we have to shut down the streets," Jefferson said.