Special prosecutor hopes for decision by July in weapons case

2012-06-26T21:58:00Z 2012-06-26T23:49:05Z Special prosecutor hopes for decision by July in weapons caseBy Bill Dolan bill.dolan@nwi.com, (219) 662-5328 nwitimes.com

CROWN POINT | A special prosecutor investigating a Lake County government official said he hopes to decide within weeks whether to file a criminal charge.

Jim Fleming, a Kokomo, Ind., attorney, said Tuesday he has been reviewing paperwork and intends to interview several witnesses as part of his investigation of an April 30 incident involving Tramel Raggs, a special assistant to the Lake County Board of Commissioners.

Raggs, a son of Gary City Clerk Suzette Raggs, is accused of pointing a pistol at a Joliet, Ill., man the afternoon of April 30 in downtown Gary during a confrontation between the two men.

A Gary police report states 37-year-old Charles Jeleniewski, a U.S. Steel employee, was driving south on Broadway about 5:30 p.m. when he pulled up to the red light at 5th Avenue and found a silver Honda stopped and straddling both southbound lanes.

Police identified Raggs as the Honda's driver.

Police said Jeleniewski pulled around next to the Honda, "gave (Raggs) the middle finger" and began to yell and curse at Raggs for blocking traffic. Jeleniewski said Raggs "pointed a black pistol at (me) and pulled off."

Jeleniewski said he called 911 and followed the Honda until police arrived.

Gary police issued Jeleniewski a ticket for provoking the incident, a Class C infraction. However, the Lake County prosecutor's office dismissed the provocation ticket last month. The prosecutor's office didn't return calls seeking comment on the reason for that dismissal.

Police arrested Raggs and sought more serious criminal charges against him.

Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter bowed out of the case and requested a special prosecutor to avoid a potential conflict of interest, because Raggs worked for Carter earlier as a seasonal employee and Carter had written a letter of commendation for Raggs to use for admission to a law school.

Senior Lake Criminal Court Judge Clarence D. Murray appointed Fleming to investigate whether Raggs should be charged either with pointing a firearm, an offense that can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor, or with intimidation, which is a misdemeanor.

Fleming said he hopes to reach a decision before the end of next month.

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