GARY | Police found three bullet-ridden dead men and an unharmed 4-year-old girl sitting on a couch next to one of the bodies in a home in Gary's Glen Park neighborhood late Thursday night.
Two other men were shot in the home at 3829 Washington St. but fled before police arrived. The child was the only person found alive in the home. Police believe one of the victims is the girl's father, Gary police Sgt. Tom Pawlak said.
Police also found narcotics, marijuana and cash in the home, Pawlak said.
The child has been placed with child protective services, and police are looking for her mother.
PJ Adams, chief investigator and spokesman for the Lake County coroner's office, identified the three men, all from Gary: Albert Barber Jr., 37; James Adams Jr., 25, of the 1300 block of Maryland Street; and Gregory Bradshaw, 30.
Barber suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at 11:42 p.m. Bradshaw was shot once in the head and was pronounced dead at 11:43 p.m. Adams suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at 11:44 p.m.
All three of the deceased had prior convictions or charges related to drugs, weapons or other violent offenses, Lake County and federal court records show.
The Thursday shootings unfolded a little before 11 p.m. when Gary police and fire responded to a 911 call about a block west of the home for a man who was bleeding from his arm. The man told police he was shot and jumped out of the home through a window before running away, Pawlak said.
A front window in the house on Washington Street was broken.
The injured man was taken to the Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary.
Police said they didn't receive any 911 calls from neighbors or anyone inside the home. The houses adjacent to the crime scene appeared vacant.
Another man walked into the emergency room at Methodist Northlake about the same time police took the initial 911 call. Pawlak said that victim told detectives he, too, was shot in the same home.
Police interviewed both men Friday morning at the hospital. Police haven't released the name of either man.
Family and friends of the victims began trickling into the neighborhood after midnight Friday.
One victim's mother calmly walked past three unmarked police cars and a radio car after 1 a.m. Friday.
She glided under yellow tape blocking off the crime scene and toward the front steps to the home before three officers ran toward her, yelling, "Stop."
Officers escorted her away, and she sat in a police car, waiting for investigators to confirm for her what she already suspected: Her son lay dead inside the home.
Police detectives and patrolmen repeated the scene throughout the night: Distraught family and friends approached the crime scene demanding to know if their relative was inside before succumbing to emotion and being led away by police, who wouldn't release information.
After 2 a.m., a Lake County coroner's office investigator approached those who identified themselves as relatives of suspected victims.
His four-door black sedan sat in front of the van that carries bodies.
The investigator sat in the driver's seat. Family members sat next to him. With the dome light on, he pulled up a photo on his digital camera and slid it across the center console to the dead man's relative.
One man's mother kept her composure as she left the car after speaking with the investigator. She calmly opened the door, quickened her pace toward waiting family and said, "He's dead," before collapsing to the ground and sobbing with another relative.
The two women were helped off the ground by others standing nearby. Others wept quietly.
Later, a younger woman took the mother's place in the front seat. She stared blankly forward.
Then she pulled her scarf over her face, sobbed for a moment, left the car and walked away.
Sylvester Green, 58, identified his godson on the investigator's camera.
He stood at the yellow tape, trying to keep warm, politely tapping or signaling police officers as they walked in and out of the crime scene.
"I just want to see his body, to confirm, just for me to know," he said.
The three bodies were pulled from the home about 3 a.m. Investigators lifted black body bags through the home's front door and placed them on gurneys.
The gurneys were wheeled to the van and loaded through the back.
After they were loaded, Green asked the investigator to see his godson.
The investigator told Green he couldn't see the body.
Police couldn't confirm some details about the investigation early Friday. It's not clear why the child was in the home, what prompted the sudden outburst of violence, or whether guns were found in the home.
Detective Cpls. Jeff Hornyak, Ed Gonzalez and Art Azcona are investigating the case. They are asking for the public's assistance.
The homicide division can be reached at (219) 881-1210. Hornyak can be reached at (219) 881-7514, Gonzalez can be reached at (219) 881-4750, and Azcona can be reached at (219) 881-7435.