Community leaders speak out after deadly shooting of 11-year-old

Published: Apr. 21, 2023 at 10:33 AM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - South Bend’s latest murder victim was a sixth-grade student at Jefferson Traditional Middle School.

Officers were called just before 5 p.m. on Thursday to the 600 block of N. Johnson Street on a ShotSpotter notification. When they arrived, they found 11-year-old T’yon Horston suffering from gunshot wounds. He died a short time later at the hospital.

11-year-old T’yon Horston was shot and killed on April 20, 2023.
11-year-old T’yon Horston was shot and killed on April 20, 2023.(South Bend Tribune)

On Friday morning, concerned community members gathered at the scene of the crime, determined to do more to stop the cycle of gun violence.

“Today, there is a group of social workers and teachers who are dealing with friends and family members of a student who is never coming home again,” said South Bend Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Cummings to the crowd. “He’s in middle school, and his friends don’t understand he’s never coming home again.”

It was a gathering some in the neighborhood didn’t welcome, and a message one woman tried to drown out with profanity-filled shouting.

“Kids will do what they see, what they’ve been exposed to, what they watch every day. And if we’re not giving them anything positive, if we’re not showing them the right way, what do we expect?” retired police officer Lynn Coleman asked the crowd.

Mychael Winston with the Gun Violence Initiative went a step further.

“We have to be able to activate and engage our own community,” he said. “We can’t wait for somebody else to come save us, because now our youth are being picked off one by one, man. And if our youth are gone, then what future do we have?”

South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski says investigators have interviewed more than 20 people regarding the case.

“I’m confident that we’re going to come to a resolution from a case-solving perspective,” Ruszkowski said. “But how on Earth, or how on God’s Earth, do you ever get resolution to an 11-year-old that’s dead?”

The South Bend Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit is handling the investigation. If you have any information, you’re asked to call Michiana Crime Stoppers at 574-288-STOP.

You can rewatch the press conference in the video attached below:

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