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Family of downtown canal shooting victim seeks justice

IMPD are investigating a deadly shooting near the canal where Jessica Doty was killed.

INDIANAPOLIS — As IMPD homicide detectives continue to investigate a deadly shooting near the canal over the weekend, family of the victim wants justice and safety improved along the canal.

It was a peaceful place Jessica Doty Whitaker often liked to walk at night with friends and family. But over the holiday weekend, violence there, took her life.

"I'll never probably ever get that image out of my head of what happened," said Whitaker's fiance, Jose Ramirez.

Ramirez said they were walking the canal around 3 a.m. Sunday, when they got into a racially charged argument with another group of people: four men and a woman.

He said one guy pulled a gun and said he did too, but that the two groups talked it out and all walked away.

Minutes later though, shots rang out along Canal Court. Whitaker was hit.

"I was actually holding her when it happened," Ramirez said. "She just fell. I turned around, and I opened fire too. But that's just a reaction. I didn't see nobody. I didn't hopefully I didn't hit nobody."

Police are still investigating and searching for suspects.

Whitaker died at the hospital, a 24-year-old home health nurse who planned to go back to school in August, get married next year and continue to raise her three-year-old son.

"I'm never going to get to hold her again," said, Arlena Doty, Whitaker's mother. "I just want the people who are responsible to be held accountable."

"Just justice. For us, mostly for him. He's got a mom he probably won't even remember when he gets older," Ramirez said. 

"We're gonna try to make him not forget," Doty added.

Family also wants safety improved along the canal at night.

This shooting is one of three in that area in a week. A woman was shot and injured last Sunday. A 14-year-old was killed when he tried to rob someone a day later. Now Jessica's death.

"How many people have to die before they will shut it down?" Doty said. "And I don't want to see the canal shut down. I just want our canal made safer."

"Or why can't we put a curfew on the canal?" Ramirez added.

It's a downtown attraction getting attention lately for all the wrong reasons.

If anyone has information that can help homicide investigators, call Crimestoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.

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