Gary Mayor Calls for State Troopers to Help with Growing Violence

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson is asking the governor of Indiana to bring in state troopers to help with the area's growing violence. Natalie Martinez reports.

    A spokeswoman for Gov. Mike Pence says his office is reviewing the mayor of Gary's second appeal for Indiana State Police help patrolling the streets of the gritty northwestern Indiana city.

    Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson this week provided details of a long-term plan to address violence in the city that Pence had asked for before considering her request. The former Indiana attorney general initially asked Pence on July 11 to send in state police for three months.

    "I asked the governor to lend us or dispatch state troopers here for a brief period of time so we could send a message to the community," Freeman-Wilson said.

    Freeman-Wilson told Pence the city's 31 homicides so far this year is an increase of more than 50 percent over the same period in 2012. She also noted the area's police force is down 20 officers.

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    A 19-year-old man was shot in a drive-by shooting in the Roseland neighborhood. The teen was standing near 104th Street and South Indiana when a car pulled up and someone fired, striking him once in the chest.

    "One is too many but when you see a 50 percent increase, then that's when you stop and say we've got to do something different," Freeman-Wilson said.

    And community members have mixed reactions on the decision.

    "I think it'll work and I think the community should get more involved too," said Marshall Brown, who lost his son and grandson to the area's violence.

    "She doesn't want this to happen to anybody's kids, but if parents don't start taking back streets we're going to have more casualties," said a Gary resident known as "Madea," who spent Thursday remembering the lost lives of her daughter and granddaughter. "Madea" did not want to give her name in fear for herself and her family as the violence continues.

    "We have more instances where use of guns results in fatalities," she said. "The culture chooses to solve with gunshots, which are permanent. It's a culture who doesn't understand finality."