Saturday night shooting takes life of man called ‘Peacekeeper’

INDIANAPOLIS — A man poured alcohol on the pavement Sunday afternoon near the gas pumps at the convenience store at 34th Street and Keystone Avenue to mark the spot where his brother was killed the night before.

“Last night I heard gunshots. Like 12 big gunshots,” said Eric Hale, who recalled seeing a car and a motorcycle at the spot where the alcohol was drying in the shade. “I seen an old school with some rims on it, colored green, and a blue three-wheeler and there was blood on ’em and stuff so and I came out and I prayed over it on what was going on.”

The man was fatally wounded, and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is trying to determine if he was targeted or a victim of mistaken identity.

“I found out it was a dude named JB,” said Hale. “It’s really sad because he was a peacekeeper out here.”

According to the Indianapolis Office of Public Health and Safety, the victim was John “JB” Barnett. In a statement posted Sunday on Twitter, Indy OPHS said JB was an outreach worker with their violence reduction team.

“He spent this past Friday night at Riverside Park in typical JB fashion, working with kids to make sure they felt loved and safe,” a Tweet read. “He spent his life making sure he would leave a legacy in the people he helped.”

The full statement from Indy OPHS can be read below:

“Last night, we lost a team member. There are no words to describe the pain we are feeling. But here are a few to remember the life of a father, a son, a partner, and a brother: John “JB” Barnett was a comedian. He could make everyone laugh, and he laughed with them. One of the most important things to remember about him was his joy—the joy he brought to his children, his friends, his work, and his family. JB was a proud man, dedicated to his community. As an outreach worker with our violence reduction team, he continued the mission he always had: to give back. He spent this past Friday night at Riverside Park in typical JB fashion, working with kids to make sure they felt loved and safe. He spent his life making sure he would leave a legacy in the people he helped. Maybe most strongly, this legacy will live on in his children, who were everything to him. Friends and family will make sure they remember how special their dad was. Too often we talk about problems, without talking about solutions. JB was a solution. His life is not in vain, because he changed our city for the better. Today, we are thinking of JB’s children, mother, and family as they navigate this incredibly challenging time. But we also will remember the laughter. The person he was. And the caring soul that he had. We remember JB.”

Indianapolis Office of Public Health and Safety on Twitter

Another witness said he had been suspicious of activity going on in an alley behind a dumpster in the parking lot minutes before the shooting. The fence surrounding the dumpster and the alley are still draped with crime scene tape as witnesses recall where the gunshots occurred.

IMPD detectives have retrieved video from the store’s surveillance cameras.

“Even if you do have video, videos don’t always show everything,” said IMPD Captain Don Weilhammer, “so, eye-witnesses can also help solve this for us.”

Sixteen hours later and two miles away, at the corner of 34th and Forest Manor Avenue, a man was shot and listed in critical but stable condition Sunday afternoon.

IMPD said the recovery of at least ten shell casings at two locations about a hundred feet apart may be an indication of a gun battle.

City-County Councilors representing the districts where the shootings occurred this weekend arrived at the Forest Manor location but had no comment on the violence in their communities.

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