GARY | Donna Shaw stood on the corner just blocks from where her 13-month-old grandson was shot and killed five years ago Monday and remembered.
"He was a joy to the family," she said.
Shaw joined friends, family members, public officials and concerned citizens at Yash Food and Fuel at the corner of East 21st Avenue and Virginia Street on the fifth anniversary of the shooting death of 13-month-old Josiah Shaw.
Dwight Taylor, of Concerned Citizens Against Violence in Gary, organizes the event each year.
"Anyone who could take a pistol, point it at a baby and pull the trigger twice is inconceivable," Taylor said.
Kwana Shaw was in the 500 block of West 21st Street in Gary strapping her son into his car seat in her vehicle when she was approached and shot. Officers later found the child in the stolen vehicle at 17th Avenue and Virginia Street with gunshot wounds to his chin and pelvis.
The boy later died from his injuries.
In the days following the shootings, police questioned the boy's father, Terry L. Bethel, of Portage, and named him a person of interest in the case. He was released days later and was not charged.
In 2010, Kwana Shaw filed a civil suit against Bethel and his brother, Joe Noel, alleging the two caused her son's death. That case is pending.
Many at the vigil were critical of Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter for a lack of charges in the case. Reached by phone after the event, Carter said he would like to see charges filed, but the evidence isn't strong enough for prosecution.
"The Gary Police Department is still working on it, and they haven't come to me with additional evidence," Carter said. "If we charged at this time, it would be dismissed."
Carter said he has handed the case to 15 attorneys in his office for individual review and all had the same response.
"In my opinion, we've had some of the best criminal minds review it, and they're saying no," Carter said.
With gospel music blaring from loudspeakers and festive balloons in hand, volunteers handed out fliers to passing motorists seeking support for the apprehension of those responsible for Josiah's murder.
Chelsea Whittington, spokeswoman for the city of Gary, urged the community to use the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (866) CRIME-GP.
"When you see something, tell," Whittington said. "Just tell. We are in favor of snitches here. We want these killings to stop now."
"Normally, that's how it plays out," he said. "It has to come from the public. We know there are people out there who know what happened."