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‘Mass murder’ suspect arrested: Six shot dead, including pregnant woman, Indianapolis officials say

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Six people, including a pregnant woman and her unborn child, died early Sunday in what Indianapolis authorities said was the largest mass casualty shooting in the city in more than a decade.

File image. Picture: REUTERS/Stefan Wermut

SIX people, including a pregnant woman and her unborn child, died early Sunday in what Indianapolis authorities said was the largest mass casualty shooting in the city in more than a decade.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers responded to a call about a shooting about 4 a.m. in the city’s north side and found a boy who had been wounded. Following reports, they went to a nearby home, where they found five people who were dead. The boy was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive, authorities said.A suspect, whose identity was not released because they are a juvenile, was arrested Monday, police said.

Police identified the victims Monday: Kezzie and Raymond Childs, both 42; Elijah Childs, 18; Rita Childs, 13; and Kiara Hawkins, 19, and her unborn child.

“What we saw this morning was a different kind of evil,” Police Chief Randal Taylor told reporters Sunday afternoon. “What occurred this morning based on the evidence that’s been gathered so far was a mass murder.”

Authorities said that they have determined the attack was “targeted” but declined to provide more detail about a motive. Police said they do not suspect any other shooter was involved.

The shooting was one of several overnight in Indianapolis and just days after officials unveiled a “crime reduction plan” to combat a rise in violence, which they attributed to drugs and poverty. IMPD conducted a record number of criminal homicide investigations in 2020, at least 160, according to the Indianapolis Star. The previous high was 159 in 2018.

The city, like others throughout the country, experienced a surge of homicides and aggravated assaults last year, police spokesman Sgt. Shane Foley told The Washington Post. Since the start of 2021, police have already responded to 20 homicides, he said.

FBI crime data indicated killings rose nearly 21 percent nationwide in the first nine months of the year, The Post previously reported.

At least five shootings overnight Sunday left seven people hospitalized, the Star reported. Since news surfaced of the morning shooting, police have responded to another, Foley said Sunday night.

While investigators processed the crime scene Sunday, Taylor described to local reporters seeing the number of people shot in an alert before he knew the death count.

“I, myself, am heartbroken,” Taylor said, “for the lives that have been taken too soon, for the young life that has forever been changed and for the life that never got a chance to start.”

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, D, also outraged, said he spoke with the U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI about the case, saying all entities would coordinate to identify and charge those behind the shooting or complicit in the crime. He warned anyone who aids a shooter or provided an illegally possessed gun would also be brought to justice.

“I want those responsible to know that the full might of local, state and federal law enforcement are coming for them as I speak,” Hogsett said.

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