- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Jasmine Albarran was 7 years old when she last saw her dad - just before his life ended in what many regard as the worst mass killing the city has ever seen.

Magno Albarran had been a good father. He had taken Jasmine to gymnastics practice and dinner. He had dropped Jasmine off with his ex-wife, Jasmine’s mother, Kim Fischer, and headed to the house at 560 N. Hamilton Ave. for the last time.

It was 10 years ago, on June 1, 2006, when four adults and three children were gunned down in their house by Desmond Turner and James Stewart, who mistakenly believed that the family had drugs and money.

Seven people dead: Alberto Covarrubias, 11; David Covarrubias, 8; Luis Albarran, 5; Flora Albarran, 22; Emma Valdez, 46; Alberto Covarrubias, 56; and Magno Albarran, 29.

Three generations decimated. Jasmine’s father, grandparents and four other relatives slain.

And a decade later, Jasmine, now 17, says she is not a victim.

“Evil does not have victory over me,” Jasmine said in a 2014 video posted on YouTube. “It does not define who I am. I am in total control. I am a survivor.”

The Hamilton Avenue murders had a deep impact on police and the community.

“It’s extremely fair to say there were many police officers, myself included, who were profoundly affected by the slaughter of that family,” said Southwest District Commander Michael Spears, who was then the Indianapolis police chief.

“We were especially haunted by the brutal, inexplicable murders of those young children.”

But no one was affected more than Jasmine.

At a time when most girls are fixated on friends, social drama and boys, Jasmine was haunted by tragedy.

“What 7 year old goes around to check the windows and the doors to make sure they’re locked?” asked Fischer, 42, who works as a dental technician.

Jasmine threw fits. There were days she would just stand there and scream and cry, wondering why she felt so alone.

One Christmas, Jasmine asked Santa for a metal detector to keep a stranger from entering her home with a gun.

“I was terrified that someone would come in and shoot us like they did my dad,” Jasmine said.

Fischer remembers a night when Jasmine held her breath until she passed out, crying in fear that Fischer was “going to die just like dad did.”

“It was the most difficult time of my life,” Fischer said, “knowing my kid was hurting and I couldn’t fix it.”

Jasmine was only 10 years old when she faced the killers in court and started to take back some of what was stolen. Turner is serving a life sentence. Stewart was sentenced to 421 years.

By age 12, with the help of a loving family and counselors, Jasmine found her strength. Soon, she was telling her story in public and helping other survivors cope with tragedy.

She started a Facebook page in 2014 to share her story online and reach out to others who have suffered losses. She’s also part of a peer mentoring group at Triton Central High School, where she will be a junior next fall.

When a classmate suffers a death in the family, teachers call on Jasmine.

“At first I didn’t want to talk to anybody,” Jasmine said in a recent interview. “After I realized that I could make a change in somebody’s life then I started to really get involved.”

Even though it was demolished in 2010, the house remains a bad memory.

“The police officers who were there will never forget that home, that address 560 North Hamilton Avenue, or what happened that day,” said Spears, the former police chief.

As for Jasmine and Fischer? They haven’t been back. They won’t go back.

“I can’t imagine people living that close and knowing what happened there,” Fischer said. “We just avoid that area. There’s a lot of good memories, but there’s a lot of painful ones, too. It’s been rough; 10 years, it’s been rough.”

On Wednesday, the 10th anniversary of the worst crime in Indianapolis history, Jasmine will privately thank some of the law enforcement officers and medics who did their best on that awful day.

Jasmine and Mike Kerman, an IMPD officer who was among the first on the scene, are organizing a lunch for the first responders. Jasmine and Kerman planned the event together and have formed a friendship this year.

For Kerman, now a detective with the domestic violence unit, the murders were one of the worst situations he has dealt with in his career.

And Jasmine, he said, is a reminder that at least something good came out of them.

“She’s taken this and turned it into something positive for herself and used it as a way to strengthen her character,” Kerman said. “Catching (the killers) and them going to prison, for me personally, it wasn’t enough.

“But I’ve been more focusing on the success she’s had and the progress she’s made and it’s helped me feel better about the situation.”

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Source: The Indianapolis Star, https://indy.st/1TVUmMf

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com

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