Gary shooting leaves young father of 2 dead
December 2, 2013 ( GARY, Ind.) (WLS) -- Several people were shot Monday in Gary, Ind., in the 2800-block of Stevenson, one of them fatally.
The shooting happened around 12 a.m. in the 6200-block of West 29th Street. Gary police said three masked men entered a house just before the shooting. Police were calling it a botched robbery. Authorities also said there was a strong possibility the incident was drug-related. According to police, it all unfolded after the men tried kicking in the door of the home.
"When they couldn't get in through the front door, they walked around to the side of the house when they encountered one of the occupants of the home. At gunpoint, they led him back inside the house. Once they were inside of the house, a struggle ensued, shots were fired," said Gabrielle King, Gary Police Department spokesperson.
The Lake County Coroner's Office confirmed Rolando Correa, 22, was killed in the shooting. Police say he died at Gary Methodist Hospital shortly before 2 a.m. Correa's family was devastated by the news, saying he had a young family.
"His daughter is 2 years old. She just turned 2, and then he had a newborn baby. It was like a blessing to his life," said Rolando Correa Sr., victim's father.
Family members say Correa was shot in front of his toddler daughter and that his newest baby was born last week.
Three other people were injured. Details about their conditions were not known. Gary police said they believe there was a strong possibility that Correa had gang ties, along with the others who were injured.
"There was an incident several days ago in East Chicago where there was some type of gang affiliation, and we suspect some of that here," said Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram.
Family members deny that, calling all of those invovled innocent victims.
"He has role models out there, and his role models [don't] teach him nothing towards gang banging, nothing towards that. He knows how to be a man, and he was doing his best at it," brother Daniel Correa said.
Police say they found two brothers in their 20s who were wounded on the property. The brothers reportedly lived at the home and that Correa was visiting them at the time of the shooting.
Police also found a wounded man in a car nearby. They were able to take that man into custody. They also said they were looking at one of the shooting victims as a person of interest. Two other suspects remained at large Monday.
Correa's family says he was hoping for a career in music and was helping his father fix cars. The father of two other men shot inside the house also said his sons were not connected to any gangs.
Investigators set up evidence markers outside the home where the shooting happened. Gary police said they were continuing to interview witnesses in the case and searching for the two suspects who remained on the loose.
It was rough holiday weekend for Gary. There were shootings on Thanksgiving Day and Sunday night. Besides Correa, two more people were killed in separate incidents, so far this year, there have been 52 homicides compared to last year's 38. The rate is up by 37 percent, making it one of the highest in the nation.
Two years into her first term, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson says it's frustrating, but she refuses to get discouraged. If there is any silver lining, Freeman-Wilson says, while homicides are up, shootings are down. Yet, she and her police chief know there is a lot of work to do to reduce the crime rate.
"We are working very closely with the U.S. attorney's office to charge individuals," said Ingram.
Gary officials are also hoping to get some help from the state and the justice department, but Freeman-Wilson says if the homicide rate is going to improve, Gary citizens must help.
"[We] need for them to come forward to serve as witnesses to help police catch perpetrators," she said.
Rolando Correa Sr. says he hopes the police catch his son's killer before he does.
"What they took from me is 22 years of a beautiful life with my son," he said.
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