EAST CHICAGO | A 2-year-old boy was recovering at home Sunday, a day after being wounded in a shooting that killed his father, police said.
Willie Cook, 25, was killed in the 3900 block of Evergreen Street in East Chicago, and his son, who was in the back of a car, was shot in the leg, police said.
Police said the vehicle was "riddled with several gunshots."
East Chicago police Lt. Marguerite Wilder said the toddler was back home Sunday but would need medical care in the future.
Willie Cook's mother, Charlene Parker, of Gary, said Sunday that Cook and the toddler were going out to eat Saturday when the shooting happened.
Wilder said detectives believe Cook was not the intended target of Saturday's shooting. Police haven't identified any suspects.
Parker described Cook as a kindhearted person. He graduated from a vocational high school in Gary and was enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves, she said.
"He's always been the good child," Parker said.
He worked at a car dealership in Gary and had two children, Parker said. The family was reeling Sunday from the death and sorting out funeral arrangements.
"It's a hard pill to swallow, but I can only take it one day at a time," she said.
East Chicago police said it appears the shooting was retaliation for Tuesday's shooting in the 3900 block of Fern Street that killed Earnestine Tarver, 50, of East Chicago. Saturday's shooting took place less than 400 feet from where police found Tarver. Police said information about Tuesday's shooting indicates it was drug-related.
"We encourage the community to reach out to us so we can quell this situation," Wilder said.
Anyone with information about the shootings is asked to call East Chicago police at (219) 391-8400.