The Reverend Malachi Walker spent Saturday night walking downtown Indianapolis, keeping an eye on young people packing city streets during the annual Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration.
While focusing on the safety of other parents’ children, Walker recalled that it was four years ago this past week when he lost his own daughter to an unsolved murder.
“I can remember it like it was yesterday,” said Walker as he surveyed crowds at Illinois and Maryland Streets.
On July 19, 2008, at least two suspects burst into Chanelle Denise Walker-Wells’ eastside home minutes after her husband left.
“They were looking for somebody,” said Walker. “Somebody had whatever it was they were looking for and this certain person wasn’t there.”
The mother of three was gunned down with her four-month-old son nearby.
A month later Rev. Walker led a drive-by vigil like the dozens he had previously led at other murder sites in the city.
In the last two months alone, Walker has held prayer services at Beechwood Garden where a four-year-old was allegedly stabbed to death by his cousin. Also, at 38th Street and Lafayette Road, where two brothers were shot after leaving a nightclub.
In between, Walker has led fundraisers, with youngsters banging drums and passing buckets at busy intersections in support of Young Men, Inc., a summer mentoring program for more than 70 children.
“I mean, that’s just my calling,” said Walker, as he watched Saturday night’s crowds of teenagers downtown. “The big concern is just kids unsupervised.”
Walker continues to reach out to parents of children who have died by violent means.
“I’m a witness and I know what they’re going through and I know their hurts and I know their pains and I let them know that if God can do it for me, he can help them through it as well.”
Walker said IMPD homicide detectives told him they are, “99% sure,” who killed his daughter, and two men are currently serving prison sentences for other crimes.
Despite his personal tragedy, Walker is not discouraged about crime in the city.
“I just feel Indianapolis is a safe place to live in.”