The canal in downtown Indianapolis. (WISH Photo/DeAndra Taylor)
Updated: Tuesday, 29 May 2012, 12:04 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 29 May 2012, 12:04 PM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - IMPD is investigating after they say a group of men attacked a young couple along the canal walk downtown.
An 18-year old woman from Ohio and a 23-year-old man from Hobart told police they were visiting for the Indy 500. They said they were walking along the canal near Washington Street around 12:15 Sunday morning when six or seven men came up from behind them and began punching and attacking them.
Rev. Charles Harrison is the president of the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition, a faith-based organization that now patrols the canal every Saturday night. They’ve done this as part of ramped up patrol after those downtown shootings on the canal in March.
Harrison says he patrolled the canal Saturday night, but is now considering expanding the area where his organization patrols.
“We left the area about 11 or 11:15. The canal was clear from Ohio to Michigan Street, and there was a heavy presence of capitol police,” said Harrison. “The canal is a large place, and it stretches for quite a few blocks…. We may have to look at the entire canal. If people who are coming down to rob and attack people know where we are, we may need to expand the area where we're patrolling.”
“It’s frustrating for me, when I come down here on Saturdays, I still see kids coming down here underage, not supervised,” Harrison said.
At this point, police said they don’t have the information to conclude this crime was gang-related. They believe it may have been random. Police described the suspects as black men aged 18-20. No arrests have been made.
“We have to look at this more carefully now, and make an assessment of our current detail, but I can tell you this is more of an anomaly than an ongoing occurrence," Interim IMPD Chief Rick Hite said.
"The question is, should there be some kind of curfew on the canal for teenagers? And do we need to expand the hours of heavy presence on the canal?” questioned Harrison.
Hite says they’re currently working to address that curfew question near the canal. Right now, Indianapolis curfew statute applies for children under 17.
“We’re going to look at legislation, we’re going to look at what makes sense in terms of what hours. Whether there’s going to be a park rule or a curfew — that’s currently what we’re looking at in terms of ordinances and making sure we understand what’s really relevant to that particular area,” said Hite.
Police said they’ll continue to patrol aggressively downtown and along the canal for an indefinite period of time. They had 20 officers downtown when the attack happened. The downtown district also got a crime strategist to assist with fighting crime as well.
“It shouldn’t hinder people. As a matter of fact, I'll walk with you. Our officers will walk with you. Indy's a safe place, and the canal will also continue to be a safe place," added Hite.