INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Three women and a man were found shot to death Tuesday in a house in a high-crime neighborhood in Indianapolis where officers found signs of forced entry, police said.
The shootings likely occurred Tuesday morning, and detectives were talking to neighbors who heard sounds earlier that might have been gunshots, Police Chief Rick Hite said. He pleaded for anyone with information on the killings to contact police.
"We don't believe this is random and we need the public's help," Hite said. "It's a tragic situation — four people were shot in the house and four people were killed."
Hite said the victims were three women and a man but provided no other details. He said police have "some ideas" on what may have sparked the killings, but none that he could share.
Office Christopher Wilburn said the four bodies were found by a homeowner who returned home shortly before 9:45 a.m. and called 911.
By late morning, detectives and forensic investigators were moving in and out of the two-story, wood frame house through an enclosed, brick front porch while people gathered outside. Among the onlookers was Charles Richardson, who said his 58-year-old sister lives at the house and had discovered the bodies.
"She came home, and she found this," he said sadly.
Richardson said his 32-year-old niece also lives there with her three children, but that the kids weren't home when the shootings happened. He said the family was nervously awaiting the authorities to provide the names of the victims.
"Until we know something, we're just going to have to hang in there," Richardson said.
His younger sister, April Richardson, said she's worried about their niece.
"I'm just praying that my niece isn't in there. I'm just praying that it's not her," she said, weeping.
The house is in a neighborhood about 3 miles northwest of downtown Indianapolis that police have targeted for greater law enforcement because of its high crime rate, Hite said. The neighborhood is dotted with a handful of well-kept homes, along with some in poor shape or in foreclosure with boarded up windows.
Neighbors said the area has been plagued in recent years by burglaries, periodic shootings and drug-related crime.
The Rev. Charles Harrison, president of the board of directors of the Ten Point Coalition, said he and other members of the Indianapolis-based, anti-crime group met with Hite and other police command staff only last week to discuss crime in the area.
"We talked about the drugs, the young people who are hanging out breaking into homes and creating havoc in the neighborhood. We've had several people shot in this area, and one killed two or three weeks ago," he said. "There's just a lot of criminal activity around here."