Tim Streett: a story of redemption

Dateline: Fri 25 Jan 2008

Some of you may remember the story of Tim Streett, who is now running for a seat on the Indianapolis Public School board.

Former Star reporter and editor Suzanne McBride some years ago was the first to write about his remarkable life. Once you read it, you never forgot the saga.

Streett was 15 years old and shoveling snow with his dad Alan Streett on Indy's Northeastside in 1978 when three young men came along, demanding money. Alan Streett was gunned down, the victim of a robbery that netted one dollar.

Streett's dad had been stationed at Fort Benjamin Harrison. He was a paratrooper and an all-round good guy. He died that day in the snow, and the three young criminals went to prison. Then-Prosecutor Stephen Goldsmith denounced the viciousness and senselessnessof the crime.

Streett was so affected by seeing his dad murdered that he drifted for years, drinking a lot in college and getting into drugs. He became a loner. Eventually, though, he had a spiritual awakening and dedicated himself to a single mission: he wanted to work on the streets of Indy with other kids who, like him, and like his dad's killers, had been adrift and lost.

Twenty years after his father's death, his faith and his new purpose in life led him to write to the young men in prison who had killed his dad. He established a relationship with Don Cox, who drove the getaway car. Cox was serving 90 years. The shooter, Michael Daniels, was on death row. He never responded to Steett's letter.

In prison, Cox had come to accept responsibility for his actions. In his letter, Streett told Cox that he had forgiven him.

"It was unbelievable," Cox told CBS News in 2001. "Until it actually happens to you, you're not really sure that people like this even exist, or if it's real."

Streett also worked to get Cox's sentence reduced. At the time CBS filed its story, Cox was out of prison and was working as an auto mechanic.

Streett, now, is still involved with church (Shepherd Community) and has worked with Jireh Sports, a youth ministry on the Near Eastside. Nothing against any of the other candidates, but Streett would be a great addition to the school board.

If you want to read a more comprehensive version of this story -- which we all need to hear in light of the Hovey Street murders -- here is the link to the 2001 piece:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/12/20/48hours/main258775.shtml

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