GARY | An 18-year-old man was found shot to death inside a car Monday morning, marking the region's first homicide of the year, police said.
Tyrece Harris, of Gary, was found by officers in the 4900 block of Eighth Avenue, police said. Harris died from a gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at 1:20 p.m., according to the Lake County coroner's office.
Officers were called at 11:45 a.m. to the secluded, snow-covered road between Matthews and Mount streets after receiving reports of a man down inside a car. Harris was dead at the scene.
Gary authorities did not release any information Monday about what led to the shooting.
By Monday afternoon, the only remnant of the homicide scene was a piece of police tape near the alley. A group of teens listened to music inside a car not far from where Harris was found.
Many neighbors said they didn't realize a shooting happened until they saw police cars in the neighborhood.
Leroy Jackson, 46, of the 700 block of Mount Street, said he was outside with a friend at 10:30 a.m. when his friend heard a gunshot. However, Jackson said he didn't hear the gunshot and disregarded what his friend said.
About an hour later, Jackson said he saw police cars had blocked off Eighth Avenue and learned about the shooting. Jackson said he didn't know Harris but had his own speculation.
"Don't be surprised if something else happens," Jackson said. "Whoever killed that boy is still around here and his friends know who did it."
About a mile away from where the shooting took place, Harris' family was reeling from the news of the death. His mother, who did not want to be identified, said her son studied technology at Ivy Tech Community College's Gary campus.
She described her son as calm and well-liked.
"I just know someone took my son's life," she said. "He was brutally, senselessly murdered."
Prior to Monday's shooting, many Northwest Indiana police departments reported a decline in crime so far this year. Officials credited the recent snowstorms and freezing temperatures for the drop in crime.
Gary logged 55 homicides last year, which was an increase from 43 homicides in 2012.
Anyone with information about Monday's shooting is asked to call Gary Police Department Detective Alex Jones at (219) 881-7477.