MERRILLVILLE | A Merrillville leader wants to collaborate with other communities to improve safety following the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old Merrillville boy.
Town Councilwoman Chrissy Barron said Depree Mims' death is another tragic example of violence that "has to stop."
Barron intends to schedule a meeting with Lake County and area municipal officials to discuss potential solutions to "unacceptable" acts, such as the March 27 shooting that killed Mims.
Mims was shot through a window of his home while getting a blanket for other children in the house in the 7500 block of Marshall Street, according to court records.
Barron said she and other town leaders extend their "heartfelt condolences" to his family.
Kevin Brown, 18, Matthew Knight, 16, Anthony Addison, 22, and Joshua Addison, 21, were charged Saturday with murder and criminal gang activity in connection with the fatal shooting. The four suspects all have Merrillville addresses, according to court records.
The Addison brothers are alleged to have picked up Brown and Knight and gone to the Marshall Street house. Brown fired several shots into the home as part of a gang initiation, according to court records.
Brown admitted to the shooting, court records state. The Addisons denied involvement.
The Merrillville Police Department is expected to release more information about the investigation of the homicide during a news conference at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Barron said adding more police officers in communities would have a direct impact on crime.
"I want to see the boots to the ground," she said.
Barron also said crime that happens in one community affects other municipalities in the county, which is why she wants to meet with multiple local officials.
Hiring more officers in Merrillville has been discussed before, but making it happen has been difficult for the town.
A proposed property tax referendum and an apartment registration fee were among ideas Merrillville examined to increase the Police Department's staff. The town later determined it couldn't pursue those proposals for hiring officers.