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INDIANAPOLIS – A violent 4th of July weekend leaves three men dead and nearly 20 people wounded across Indianapolis.
The last of the deadly shootings took place early Tuesday morning on Grant Avenue. Police said a fight between family members led to a shootout that claimed the life of 26-year-old Anthony Higginson Jr.
That case marks the 114th homicide of the year. While that number is the second highest on this date in history, city leaders insist that spending millions of dollars in community grants will eventually help reduce the levels of violence in the city.
The other deadly shootings took the lives of 53-year-old James Mason, who was killed outside his home on 34th Street, and 31-year-old Medhat Saad, who was shot on Bretton Wood Drive on the northwest side.
“It was a sad weekend. My heart goes out to the families that have been affected,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.
In addition to the trio of homicides, the holiday weekend also saw two men wounded in a road-rage shooting. Two children were also shot inside a bounce house, and a teen boy was hit by a stray bullet on Eugene Street.
“The loss of life or the wounding of a child is unacceptable,” added Hogsett.
Still, the mayor pointed out there has been a decrease in homicides compared to last year, although the numbers also show the last three years has seen significantly more killing than the prior three years.
That same trend is reflected in the city’s non-fatal shooting victims.
“We’re not declaring victory, but I do think there is some hope that the investments we are making is working,” said Hogsett.
In addition to spending $9 million on better technology for IMPD, on Wednesday the city will award 4.5 million dollars in violence reduction grants to grassroots groups.
“Everybody needs to be a part of this,” said Lauren Rodriguez with the Office of Public Health and Safety.
In all, the city has committed to spending $15 million a year on community grassroots grants over three years. That is four times the amount spent in previous years.
Rodriguez maintains that it’s too early to judge the success of the new investments before much of the money has even been awarded.
“It’s been six months, but we are just now able to get checks out to people,” said Rodriguez.
For their part, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department insists the public also has a role to play in reducing the levels of violence by speaking up and turning in any suspected shooters.