INDIANAPOLIS – On Sunday, it was a year ago that a shooting on the east side of the city cost the lives of four people, including a child.
The suspect, Malik Halfacre, is charged with the March 13, 2021 assassination attempt on 338 ½ Randolph Street during an altercation over a stimulus check, court records show.
Eve Moore, who was only 7 years old, died along with her grandmother Tomeeka Brown, her uncle Daquan Moore and cousin Anthony Johnson.
“It was completely devastating,” said neighbor Joey Newsom. “It’s at those times when you’re really trying to get together, connect with the family, connect with each other, connect with our faith community.”
Several months after the fatal shooting, Newsom bought the home where the murders happened in hopes of rewriting a story for the house and breathing new life back into the neighborhood.
“We thought, ‘Hey, this is next to us, it makes a lot of sense,'” Newsom said.
It’s a thought he had had for some time, but made the decision to move on after the tragedy that had a significant impact on the neighborhood.
Newsom said there are still repairs he hopes to make to the home, but believes the steps they have taken will help move the narrative forward in a positive direction.
“This country is sacred. You know, I do not care what people say. Bad things are happening, but there is something to be said about a tragedy affecting the country,” Newsom said. “It does not have to be the whole story. Like a tree loses its leaves and is naked in winter. ”
Another addition to the home came on the one-year mark when Newsom said about 25 members of the community, including more than 10 children, came together to plant a tree in memory of the four people killed.
“In tragedy, it looks like we’ve lost, and it looks like a loss can eat away at us. It’s a lot like a bare tree, you know, it looks like nothing’s happening, but there is so much more than a tree in the winter, ”said Newsom.
That’s what the tree represents – a beacon of hope for flourishing in the neighborhood that was hit by significant losses last year.
“We can hope, but we also do not have to forget grief,” Newsom said.
“The children who come and plant the trees are all a symbol of the hope of coming,” he continued. “There is always hope.”
Newsom said some of the children who came to help plant the tree on Sunday were classmates and friends of Eva.
To add even more meaning to what the tree represents, Newsom said they decided to plant a cherry tree because it was one of Tomeeka’s favorites.
“I’m just doing my part, and that’s all we can ask each other to do our part to say, ‘Hey, this place matters. We love our community and we all have a role to play, ”Newsom said. “We can not do it individually; we can not do it alone. We have to do it together. That’s what it means to be a community. ”
He hopes that society, including stakeholders and leaders, will continue to work together to create positive change. Over the past year, this was not the only shooting that involved a young person taking place in the neighborhood.
“Just two blocks south of us, we had a teenager killed in broad daylight in front of other children,” Newsom said.
In September, 17-year-old Ross Anthony Mitchell was shot and killed in the first block of North Randolph Street.
“2021 in Indianapolis was truly a year of such a tragedy. It particularly affected our Willard Park neighborhood,” Newsom said.
Newsom and other neighbors are too hope to continue the positive change going forward by encouraging those responsible for making decisions about what happens to the property in the former Indiana Women’s Prison and Indiana Re-Entry Educational Center to talk to residents about what the space could be used for.
“We have a lot of hope, a lot of expectations for what can be there in society,” Newsom said.
He hopes the state will be encouraged to talk to Willard Park residents about how they can reuse the space into something meaningful for everyone.
They are working on planting more seeds for change, while remembering those that were taken too soon.
“As a community, I think we mourn with those who mourn, and we celebrate with those who celebrate,” Newsom said.
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