Police identified the victims as Kezzie and Raymond Childs, both 42; Elijah Childs,18; Rita Childs, 13; and Kiara Hawkins, 19, and her fetus.
“What we saw this morning was a different kind of evil,” Police Chief Randal Taylor told reporters Sunday afternoon. “What occurred this morning based on the evidence that’s been gathered so far was a mass murder.”
Authorities said that they have determined the attack was “targeted" but declined to provide details about a motive. Police said they do not think any other shooter was involved.
The shooting was one of several overnight in Indianapolis and just days after officials announced a crime-reduction plan to combat a rise in violence, which they attributed to drugs and poverty. IMPD conducted a record number of criminal homicide investigations in 2020, at least 160, according to the Indianapolis Star. The previous high was 159 in 2018.
The city, like others nationwide, experienced a surge in homicides and aggravated assaults last year, police spokesman Sgt. Shane Foley told The Washington Post. Police have already responded to 20 homicides this year, he said.
FBI crime data indicated that killings rose nearly 21 percent nationwide in the first nine months of the year, The Post previously reported.
At least five shootings overnight Sunday left seven people hospitalized, the Star reported. Since news surfaced of the morning shooting, police have responded to another, Foley said Sunday night.
While investigators processed the crime scene Sunday, Taylor described to local reporters seeing the number of people shot in an alert before he knew the death count.
“I, myself, am heartbroken,” Taylor said, “for the lives that have been taken too soon, for the young life that has forever been changed and for the life that never got a chance to start.”
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett (D), also outraged, said he spoke with the U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI about the case, saying all entities would coordinate to identify and charge those behind the shooting or complicit in the crime. He said that anyone who aids a shooter or provides an illegally possessed gun will be brought to justice.
“I want those responsible to know that the full might of local, state and federal law enforcement are coming for them as I speak,” Hogsett said.