Indianapolis police on Monday arrested a 17-year-old boy in connection with a “mass murder” over the weekend that left five people and an unborn child dead.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department discovered five people, including a pregnant woman, shot and killed inside a home on Sunday morning. Investigators were led to the grisly crime scene at around 4 a.m. after a juvenile boy was found with a gunshot wound just steps away from the scene on Adams Street. Police on Sunday said it was the “largest mass casualty shooting” Indianapolis has seen in more than a decade.
Authorities have identified those killed as Kezzie Childs, 42; Raymond Childs, 42; Elijah Childs, 18; Rita Childs, 13; and Kiara Hawkins, 19. Hawkins’ unborn baby boy also died.
“I would say to whoever did this that you a cold-hearted person to wipe out a whole family,” Nikki Smith, a childhood friend of Kezzie Child, told The Daily Beast on Monday. “You will pay for what you have done to the community and to the family of Kezzie Childs!”
The name and photo of the suspect have not been released because he is not an adult, police said. An IMPD spokeswoman later revealed the suspect in custody is a 17-year-old boy, but said he is not the same juvenile who was found wounded on Sunday. At this time, authorities do not believe any additional suspects are at large.
“Yesterday, we promised swift justice for this heinous act. Today, we delivered on that promise,” IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said in a statement.
“While removing the alleged perpetrator of yesterday’s mass murder from our neighborhoods does not bring back the lives senselessly lost, hopefully, it will bring us one step closer to healing as a community. I am grateful to all of the IMPD officers and criminal justice partners who have worked tirelessly for the last 30 plus hours to bring justice for these victims, their friends and families, and our entire community. I ask community members to join me in praying for the continued recovery of the young man whose life has been forever changed.”
While authorities believe the wounded boy who was found on Adams Street was injured during the crime, no motive or further details about the gut-wrenching incident have been released. The wounded boy, however, is expected to survive, Taylor said Sunday, adding that authorities believe the victims were “targeted” by one or more people.
“But what we saw this morning was a different kind of evil. What happened this morning, based on the evidence that’s been gathered so far, was mass murder,” Taylor said at a Sunday news conference. “More than that, we believe it was not random.”
One neighbor directly across the street from the crime scene told Fox59 that she hadn’t heard any gunshots early Sunday morning—and didn’t know what had happened until police knocked on her door around 5 a.m.
“They are so sweet. The lil boy so sweet. Oh lord, they say, ‘Hi, Miss Vicki’ all the time… Now I gotta look over there and not hear they say, ‘Hi Miss Vicki, how’s your day going,’” Vicki Pinkston said of her neighbors.
Friends of the family also expressed their outrage over social media.
“I just can’t wrap my mind around this ... this is so unreal ... so heartbreaking ... I’m just so hurt,” one friend wrote in a Monday post on Facebook.
“My heart is saddened to hear about the loss of Kezzie Childs and her family. This world is so cruel. This is horrible!! Prayers to her family!!” another friend added on Facebook.
Nikki Smith told The Beast that she has known Kezzie since kindergarten, and they grew up together in the same apartment complex.
“She taught me how to fight, how to ride my first bike. We did...everything together when we were young!” Smith said. “I can’t even imagine who would do such a horrible thing...I’m praying for her mom sister and her brother...This is senseless!”
On Sunday, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said the grisly incident has brought “terror to our community,” and he contacted the FBI, the local U.S. Attorney’s office, and other law enforcement agencies to expedite the investigation.
“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.