INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Dozens gathered Friday night for another vigil honoring the memory of the victims in last week’s quadruple homicide.
For the first time, we’re able to share photos and speak with the loved ones from the remaining two victims.
Members of the grieving community didn’t shy away from the idea that it’s February 14, Valentine’s Day. For them, this event was all about spreading a message of love and peace, even in the midst of unimaginable pain after three cousins and a girlfriend killed on a single night.
Braxton Ford, Kimari Hunt, Marcel Wills and Jalen Roberts, none having celebrated their 22nd birthday yet. All taken too soon.
Organizers are determined to not let it happen again.
The four victims were killed on Feb. 5. The previous night, Kimery Hutcherson saw all three men, including her nephew Marcel Wills.
“We had a good time that night,” Hutcherson said. “I believe God brought them over so I could see them before they passed.”
She finally remembered to give Marcel a shirt she’d been meaning to for two years. The cousins hasseled Jalen that he needed socks.
Hutcherson raised Marcel since he was 5 years old.
“Sweet as pie,” she recalled.
Hutcherson said he was intelligent, loving, creative, a computer whiz, a lover of travel and someone who loved shoes more than clothes.
In fact, as a child, twice he was brought to tears because she had to throw out his beloved shoes. On one occasion, she threw them away after he went to sleep because they were too small and he refused to wear the new ones. Another it was because they were soaked and reeked after a camping trip.
“I say, ‘Boy, take those shoes off, you go to throw them away,’” Hutcherson remembers. “He started crying so hard because I made him throw the shoes away.”
She lives in the same Carriage House East complex as Jalen, the site of where it all happened nine days ago.
“I do, unfortunately I do,” she said. “His life was taken too soon. He left way too early. He’ll be greatly missed. I’m going to miss him until I die.”
Jalen’s mother Kim Roberts tells News 8 that Jalen was the youngest and spoiled by his older sisters.
“He loved people, he loved life, he was funny. Most of all he loved basketball,” said Kim.
She said he was always smiling. In fact, when they talked about death, that’s what he told her he wanted at his funeral: all smiles. She responded, “I can’t promise that because we love you and he said, ‘No ma, I don’t want nobody to cry.’”
There were some tears Friday night at the vigil at the Success Center at the Carriage House complex.
Among those gathered were IMPD Chief Randal Taylor to pray, share memories, then release balloons into the sky, many shaped like hearts.
Afterwards, there was a sharing of community resources available to everyone here like a support group for survivors of a violent death and grief counseling.
There was plenty of just sharing too, conversations and tears between friends.
“Everyone says I’m strong, I’m trying to be for my son,” said Kim Roberts. “I’m trying to be strong for the community and for other mothers and to show them that by the grace of God, you can go through it.”
She also hopes it serves as a reminder to all, especially the youth at the event, to see this as a second chance, a chance four friends didn’t get on a cold night in early February.
“I just want the tragedy of the four to be something that will be a change and a community in our young people,” said Kim.
For Hutcherson, it means a lot to see so many people share their love. Just two years ago, her brother Albert Ford was shot and killed at the complex. Now, in a few days, she’ll bury her nephew.
“We do care about the community because we have to live over here,” said Hutcherson.
Still, at the same time, with so many painful memories she would like to leave to ease the pain.
“I gotta get away from here as soon as I’m able to,” she said.
While Kim Roberts declined to answer questions about the killer or killers, Hutcherson was willing to share her thoughts.
“It’s a sad thing what you done. I would say I pray that they catch you before you do this to someone else. I would also tell them I’m praying for them too.”
When asked what change she would like to see, Roberts said the stigma and the opportunities surrounding a felony for young people. She believes they’re not able to get a second chance and it changes their lives forever, even if they deserve another opportunity.
Police continue to ask for any tipsters to come forward to help investigators.
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