816 112 LINKEDIN 91 COMMENTMORE

INDIANAPOLIS — As soon as the Fourth of July celebrating ended, the shooting began.

Early Saturday, six men and one woman were shot after two people who bumped into each other on a crowded sidewalk in Indianapolis' Broad Ripple decided to end their dispute by pulling out handguns exchanging fire.

Roughly 19 hours later, a 21-year Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department veteran was gunned down by a 25-year-old suspect toting a powerful rifle.

When asked to describe how he and many of his fellow Indianapolis residents were feeling in the midst of an Independence Day weekend marred by violence, "on edge" was the only thing that came to the mind of 32-year-old Jackson Austin.

"I can honestly say that I'm afraid. I didn't sleep well at all last night. When I hear the noise outside, I don't know if I'm hearing fireworks or gunshots," he said Sunday morning. "I live downtown and I never felt worried about being here. It was always (you'll be) fine if you stay out of (a certain) part of town or 'nothing happens on that part of town.' But now it's everywhere."

"I don't know if I'd call any part of the city safe anymore."

For some, the fatal shooting of IMPD Officer Perry Renn, 51, made it clear that gun violence in Indianapolis has gotten out of control.

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Renn was one of three officers who responded to a report of shots fired about 9:23 p.m. Saturday. Upon arrival, police found Major Davis Jr., 25, brandishing an assault rifle.

An exchange of gunfire lasting three to five minutes ended with Renn being fatally wounded, and Davis in critical condition.

Davis, who underwent surgery, faces a preliminary charge of murder.

Police reports show Davis had several run-ins with Indianapolis police over the last decade. In August 2005, when he was 16, Davis was picked up as part of a truancy sweep, according to a police report. Two years later, police said they found him and another man inside a home known for drug activity, where police also found two fully loaded 7.62 SKS rifles, marijuana, cocaine and $2,293 in cash.

Despite those arrests, online Marion County, Ind., court records show only one conviction: a criminal misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge filed in August 2008.

Court records show Davis received probation and was required to attend narcotics anonymous classes.

Loretta Shelton, 58, is a resident on the city's east side who was stunned, but not surprised, to learn of Renn's death.

Shelton, who has lived in Indianapolis for the last 20 years, said it was only a matter of time before something like this happened again.

"It's disgusting. So many young people have no respect or regard for life," she said. "It gets worse every day, and they can't do nothing to stop them. You can't save these boys."

Shelton is a mother of two adult sons still living in Indianapolis. She said she often fears for their lives when they go out to clubs and other night spots on the weekend.

"It's so dangerous, and I know this is terrible to say, but it makes me sad to hear that (Davis) made it and (Renn) didn't," she said. "There is something wrong with that. I know the Lord makes everything happen for a reason, but that just does not seem right. I'm praying for all of us."

But Cathryn Otero, 27, is urging the people of Indianapolis to not let the fear of the violence consume them.

Sunday, Otero stuck to her morning routine of jogging through downtown, despite her concerns.

"If you show them you're afraid then they win," she said as she took a break from running. "There are still more good people than bad. We can't let those few people control us."

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard on Sunday directed flags at all city-county facilities to be flown at half-staff to honor Renn. Flags will remain that way until sunset on the day of Renn's interment.

The last Indianapolis police officer to die in the line of duty was Rod Bradway, a five-year veteran of the department, who was fatally shot Sept. 20 by a man holding a woman hostage.

Contributing: Jill Disis and John Tuohy, The Indianapolis Star

816 112 LINKEDIN 91 COMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1lL8sdP