It ‘s been a rough several days for the Jaffke family who tragically lost their son, brother and friend while he was delivering a pizza on Indianapolis’ south side last week.
Thirty-year-old Daniel Jaffke, a delivery driver for Papa John’s, was shot to death while delivering a pizza to a southside neighborhood on Jan. 31.
According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the incident occurred in the 4100 block of Continental Court, near East Street and Hanna Avenue, just after 7 p.m.
Jaffke’s family and friends are left reeling and trying to make sense of what happened.
“Daniel worked two jobs. Papa John’s was his second job to make a little extra money,” his sister, Julie Ritter, said. “The detectives have said that he was shot in the back and they believe that he was trying to get away and that he probably was being robbed … He was walking to his car when he was shot.”
Jaffke’s Jeep Cherokee was also stolen in the incident and was later found about three miles away. Ritter noted that at the time of his death, Jaffke had only $100 on him.
“It’s heartbreaking to know that he would die over $100,” she said. “He was found about 20 minutes later when the people who ordered the pizza took their pizza box out to the trash. They are not suspects.”
So, while the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department continues to search for the shooter, his friends and family have been left grieving.
“Daniel was talented, well-loved by his friends and family, and generous,” Ritter said. “Our dad (Thomas Jaffke) taught him how to play the guitar around the age of 10. Dad told me that ‘in no time, Daniel surpassed my day’s skill.’ They tried to play together sometimes for fun at home, but my dad just couldn’t keep up.”
It’s likely that Jaffke took on the extra work to support his love of music and that showed when he recently had the chance to properly thank his father, his biggest inspiration.
“I know he saved up a lot right before Christmas to buy our dad a guitar because while growing up my dad would get a guitar and he always ended up giving it to Daniel,” Ritter said with a smile. “So he probably spent his money on music.”
Over the years, Jaffke became a serious musician who had performed in several bands, most recently Two O’clock Twilight, in which he was the lyricist and the lead singer.
“They performed in local clubs around the city,” Ritter said. “He was very talented. I’m biased, but he was.”
In the days since his passing, friends have reached out to lend a hand to the family, who unexpectedly found out that Daniel’s life insurance policy was set to go into effect the very next day.
“He had a life insurance policy that was going to go into effect through his main job on Feb. 1,” Ritter said. “He was killed on Jan. 31 — five hours before that would have gone into effect. Rather than be really upset about that fact, we felt that God made a way for us.”
Someone was indeed looking out for the Jaffke family as several of his friends set up a fundraiser with the goal of raising $13,000. That goal has since been exceeded and is nearly at the $14,500 mark.
“We’re grateful because at the time, we thought all of us kids and my stepmom and my dad were going to have to somehow come up with the money for a funeral,” Ritter said. “That’s not the case now.”
Hundreds have donated toward the memorial fund including Jaffke’s former employers at C&S Racing.
Jaffke leaves behind his parents, Thomas and Donna, as well as five sisters and a brother. He was the youngest.
“Daniel was very proud of his Irish heritage from his mother’s side,” Ritter said. “I miss him so much, my soul hurts. He loved the color green and his favorite toast was an old Irish toast: ‘Here’s to you as good as you are. Here’s to me as bad as I am. As good as you are and as bad as I am, I’m as good as you are as bad as I am.’”
Those looking to donate, may do so online at http://www.gofundme.com/6lu4q4.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS. Anonymous tips may also be submitted online at crimetips.org or by texting “INDYCS” plus tip information to 274627.