Cops: Teen shot, killed trying to rob man

2013-07-23T13:15:00Z 2013-07-24T09:11:04Z Cops: Teen shot, killed trying to rob manTimes Staff nwitimes.com
July 23, 2013 1:15 pm  • 

GARY | One of two Gary teens who reportedly tried to rob a man at gunpoint Monday night was shot and killed when the man they were robbing grabbed the gun and it went off, police said.

The shooting death marks the 31st homicide in the city this year.

Marquise Stokes, 19, of the 500 block of Kentucky Street was pronounced dead at 10:30 p.m., according to a report from the Lake County coroner's office.

The cause of death was listed as gunshot wounds suffered at E. 7th Avenue and Connecticut Street. Stokes was pronounced dead at the scene.

The death has been ruled a homicide.

Gary Police Cpl. Gabrielle King said a 40-year-old man told police he was southbound in 600 block of Connecticut Street and was approached by two unknown teens when he got to the 700 block.

King said one of the teens pointed a gun at the man and said, "What you got on you?" One of the teens then started going through the man's pockets.

The other teen lowered the gun and started going through the man's pockets on the other side. They found the man's cellphone and threw it on the ground.

As the teens continued going through the man's pockets, he grabbed the gun and struggled with them, King said.

Stokes was shot in the struggle and pronounced dead at the scene.

King said a 17-year-old and the 40-year-old man were both taken into custody and were being held for questioning Tuesday.

Stokes' death is the latest in a string of gun violence plaguing the city. Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson last week asked Gov. Mike Pence to allow Indiana State Police to assist Gary police in an effort to show force and restore order on the city's streets.

Pence responded saying he wants the mayor to provide a long-term plan to tackling violent crime in the city as he considers her request.

Late Tuesday, the mayor's office released a response in which she said violence in the city "is now beyond urgent." According to the released plan, the city plans to work with neighboring departments and Indiana State Police to conduct monthly saturation patrols. The city also wants to hire more officers but didn't specify how many they plan to add to the force.

The Lake County Sheriff's Department has also assigned a homicide detective to work with Gary police, according to the plan.

Lake County Sheriff John Buncich said Tuesday a veteran member of his department, Detective Edward Jenkins, will be working with Gary police starting next week on homicide cases. Jenkins does not have a timeframe for how long he'll be dispatched there, Buncich said

The department is working with the prosecutor's office to prosecute gun charges. The department also wants to place a intake deputy to speed up the process of charging someone.

A large chunk of the plan looks at ways to solve other problems linked to crime such as increasing employment rates, looking at abandoned property and working with truancy and drug courts. The city is also working with the Office of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center to target the Tarrytown and Tolleston neighborhoods.

The Gary Public Safety Committee will meet at 5 p.m. July 31 at City Hall to discuss the surge in violent crime as well.

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