Murders on the Westside 

Police need help solving crimes

Police need help solving crimes

While police are working to stop a rash of violence along 38th Street on the city’s Westside, shootings and killings have continued in this busy business and residential district in recent months and nobody is quite sure why.

In October, three Hispanic males were killed near 38th Street. In November, two more were shot across I-465 on 38th Street near Shore Drive.

Pedro Sanchez was killed on Oct. 10 while visiting inside a neighbor’s apartment. Indianapolis Police Department robbery and homicide Lt. Joseph Mason said, “They just blasted Pedro. They walked into the apartment and shot him. We have no idea why.”

The second killing occurred on Oct. 20. Police tentatively identified the victim as Julio Olivera. According to Mason, “He’s a John Doe at this point, we’re not really sure who he is or why he was killed.” The victim was found badly beaten behind the Peddlers Mall at 6250 W. 38th St. and died later at the hospital. The police and the Mexican Consulate are working to positively identify the body.

The third killing occurred on Oct. 31 in the parking lot of the Meijer store on Pike Plaza just north of 38th Street. Jacob Mecatl was shot and killed and left for dead. Witnesses saw a 1991-1994 Chevrolet Lumina four-door with tinted windows leaving the scene of the shooting.

“All these victims are Hispanic,” Mason said. “We’re not sure why any of them were killed. We don’t think that the crimes are connected in any way at this point. Right now we’re looking for information.”

The latest incident on 38th Street occurred on Nov. 15 just outside of IPD jurisdiction west of I-465. According to eyewitness accounts, shots sounding like firecrackers rang out before a man and woman rushed from their cars seeking help from other motorists. The male passenger ran to Don Pablo’s restaurant and the female driver went from car to car seeking help.

All of this violence occurred on a short stretch of road frequented by families out to shop at Meijer, Lafayette Square Mall or to dine at the many restaurants along this street. Police say they are doing their best to make the corridor safe while working with a limited budget. Some even give extra time to painting over gang signs and other graffiti and helping with community crime watch programs.

“We’ve been working hard at stopping the violence on 38th Street,” said IPD public relations officer Lori Wheeler. She said police have been working with the management of the area’s crime-ridden apartment buildings to set up substations in the former apartments of busted drug dealers.

Residents can also help solve these crimes by calling Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS. Or call the homicide department at 317-327-3475.

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