Indy is mourning two musicians who died in separate incidents of gun violence in the last two weeks.
Richard Noel Jr. (who performed as Riko V) was shot and killed on the Northeastside on October 20th. Details are tragic — his father, also Richard Noel Sr. — says he was killed by mistake by persons looking to "eliminate witnesses after a home invasion" at the Noels' home the month before.
Riko V released several projects and performed frequently. His latest was a mixtape called Meant 2 Lose, which was posted in full online just 18 days ago. He first came to my attention in 2013, when he released an album the same day his daughter was born. [Note: Riko had two more children as well, including another son and daughter.]I reached out to a few people who performed or organized shows with Riko V for their thoughts:
"Riko was diverse with his music. It wasn't the same, every record. He was multifaceted and he was driven to make greater material, by the record. He was passionate about his craft. And it was a glow of inspiration that captured all of us. Stemming from his personality. it resonated with the art that he created, making it a thorough piece of material."
- Pope Adrian Bless
"[The show I hosted that Riko performed at] was amazing. So much energy, the level of respect for the space was so cool that I didn't even need to clean up the next day. Riko V was one of the first ones after the show to introduce himself and thank me for letting them use the stage in the yard. He gave me his album Meant 2 Lose and it's just the kind of stuff that motivates me to feel awesome. Like obstacles are just meant to make you stronger. He had that vibe. I think his crew is #TUC and I think it stands for The Underdog [Collective] which I can relate to right away. It's just tragic and a great loss to hip-hop in the local community because he was the kind of person that was a mentor and friend to his peers. ... He had big dreams he was a good father. I saw that with my own eyes."
— Ronald David Lora-Castillo
Family and friends have organized a GoFundMe to cover costs associated with the funeral and burial services.
Mark Miller was shot and killed while delivering food for his job at China King on Tuesday at 21st Street and Mitthoefer Road.
He was former member of Kill Tha Messenger and Halibrid. In this WTHR remembrance, his mother Julie Garner mentions that she bought Mark his first drumset when he was 8 years old, and that he carried drumsticks everywhere with him.
A memorial show is organized on January 9 at 5th Quarter Lounge, the same place that hosted a memorial for musician Daniel Jaffke, who was murdered while delivering pizza in early 2014. Family and friends have organized a GoFundMe to assist with funeral costs.
If anyone has any information about these crimes, please call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-TIPS (8477). Callers may also text INDYCS plus tip information to 274637 (CRIMES). We'll update with more memorial information as we have it. IndyStar maintains a homicide map, available here. Last night, four people were shot in less than 3 hours, and two died.
When we interviewed Joe Hogsett in the midst of his mayoral race — he was elected Tuesday — he had this to say about gun violence in Indy:
"Indianapolis is facing a homicide and gun crime epidemic. The root causes of this violence are complex and did not develop overnight — so I believe that the solutions must be comprehensive and long-term in focus. As a former federal prosecutor, I worked with local, state, and federal law enforcement to tackle our challenges. We cracked down on gun crime, prosecuted those who perpetrated internet crimes against children, created the first Indiana Civil Rights task force, and broke records for the number of criminal convictions and the length of sentences imposed. As mayor, my plan adds 150 new police officers to the streets. In addition, I will lift a 30-year moratorium on new streetlights to improve the safety and quality-of-life for our residents. As mentioned, I will ensure at least 1,000 area youth have summer jobs that deter them from the pitfalls of crime and drugs. And finally, I will deploy cutting-edge data analytics and technology to make our police department more effective and more efficient."
I'm angry about these senseless deaths.
I'm angry that when I crack open Twitter in the morning what I often first see is the reporting work of IndyStar crime reporter Michael Anthony Adams on Indy's streets reporting on yet another shooting death, yet another death investigation (no knock on Adams, who does quick and masterful work reporting this violence -- I'm angry that there is so much to cover).
I'm angry on behalf of the family and friends and loved ones of people who are shot and killed every night in our streets.
I'm angry for Riko's daughter, who will grow up without her father.
I'm angry for Mark Miller's mother, who will bury her son.
I'm angry for our music scene for the loss of two talents.
I'm angry on behalf of those who don't care a bit about music for the loss of two citizens of our city and two human beings from this Earth.