The Indiana chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, the grassroots networks of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement following the announcement of charges against a 32-year-old white man who shot and killed Joshua Cooper and Anderson Retic, both 19, and wounded Jaylin Rice, 20 — all young Black men — while they were sitting in their car at a gas station last week. Rice remains hospitalized and is in serious condition. The father of Anderson Retic, Renaldo Chinn III, called the shooting that killed his son a hate crime.
“These young men should still be with us and their families should not be staring at an empty seat at the dinner table or praying at the side of a hospital bed,” said Des Harris, a volunteer with the Indiana chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Gun violence is a public health crisis that is tearing apart too many families and taking the lives of too many Black men, women, children in Indiana. We must do more to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people fueled by hate.”
Lawmakers are currently advancing dangerous bills that would roll back gun laws in the state and further promote a culture of violence, including one that would repeal the permit requirement for carrying a handgun in public. Lax gun laws in Indiana and pandemic-related disruptions have exacerbated the root causes of gun violence and disproportionately impact Black and Latino communities. Areas across Indiana, including Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and St. Joseph County saw elevated numbers of homicides in 2020 — many of which have been gun homicides.