GARY | Gary police are probing the homicides of three people and the shootings of five others in what is believed to be two separate incidents Monday.
A 22-year-old Gary man died and four others were wounded after a home invasion and shooting early Monday.
Hours later, another man was found dead of a gunshot wound along the 2100 block of Georgia Street.
Police also found a Gary man dead of a gunshot wound inside a van at East 19th Avenue and Pennsylvania Street.
In the home invasion, Rolando Correa, of the 2400 block of Calhoun Street, was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound at 1:57 a.m. at the Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary, a Lake County Coroner's report said.
At 11:56 p.m. Sunday, officers were called to a home in the 6200 block of West 29th Avenue.
Three men with guns came to the front door of the home late Sunday and could not get in. One of the men walked around the side of the house and ran into a resident in the yard, Gary Police Spokeswoman Cpl. Gabrielle King said.
The masked gunmen forced the resident back into the house where shots were exchanged. Ingram said at least four others were shot. Their identifications and conditions were not available.
Police Chief Wade Ingram said Correa ran to his brother's home nearby badly wounded. He later died at Methodist Hospitals.
Police stopped the vehicle fleeing the scene and found Mark Cherry, 21, of Lake Station, inside with a gunshot wound believed to have been suffered at the home. Cherry was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn for treatment of his wounds.
The vehicle's driver was taken into custody and is being questioned, sources close to the investigation said.
Four other residents of the home were wounded at that site.
"We don’t know if it was drugs, gangs, but we believe it was a robbery," Ingram said.
Ingram said he did not believe police had contact with residents of the home in the past.
By Monday afternoon, the police tape around the house was gone. One of the home's windows was boarded up and shattered glass was spread among toys in the front of the house. The neighborhood is bordered by train tracks and Interstate 80/94.
A woman who lives in the neighborhood said Monday evening the home invasion didn't seem like a random incident.
"Honestly, if they were looking to steal something, they would of picked another house," she said as she pointed out nicer homes in the area.
At 6:50 a.m., Andre J. Woods, 28, of Gary, was found dead on the road in the 2100 block of Georgia Street with a gunshot wound to the head, according to a news release from the Lake County coroner's office. He was pronounced dead at 7:39 a.m.
Police said they believe Woods was also involved in the home invasion.
Police initially thought that homicide was related to a shooting in a van involved a homicide.
In that case, a 30-year-old Gary woman and two other men were driving in a van when shots rang out, King said. The woman, shot in the neck, jumped out of the vehicle and was transported to the Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus and later airlifted to Advocate Christ Medical Center, King said.
The nature of her wounds was not available.
Police spent the morning searching for the van and issued a description and license plate number hoping the public could help in locating it. King said the van with a dead man inside of it was found at 9:40 a.m. at East 19th Avenue and Pennsylvania Street.
Damian Reedus, 34, of the 6000 block of Hemlock Street, was pronounced dead at that site at 11:45 a.m., an investigator with the Lake County coroner's office said.
Reedus had a gunshot wound to the neck. The gunman is still on the loose.
Monday's homicides bring Gary's murder count for the year to 52 -- or one for every 1,500 residents. In 2012, the city logged 43 homicides.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson asked Gov. Mike Pence this summer for help with the city's growing homicide problem, requesting Pence send Indiana State Police to assist with patrols.
Pence declined and instead sent a report outlining needed changes in the department.
Since then, Ingram has shifted the bulk of his officers to the patrol division and consolidated other divisions to increase detectives in the homicide unit in an effort to curb crime. Gary has also teamed up with officers from Hammond, East Chicago and the Lake County Sheriff's Department for the Region STOP team, a patrol effort in northern Lake County.
Ingram visits the homes of every homicide victim with a local member of the clergy and urges family members not to seek retaliation for the crimes. Many of the homicides, officials have said, are retaliatory in nature.
Ingram said homicides have gone up 37 percent in 2013 but gun violence is down 35 percent.
Ingram said he saw Attorney General Eric Holder was in Chicago last week and heard him pledge more money to combat gun violence in Chicago.
"I would like to see some of that money spent here in Gary to help us reduce our gun violence also," Ingram said.
Freeman-Wilson said seeing the homicide rate continue to rise in the city has been frustrating. She said Gary has been working on trying to reduce crime the entire year.
"It's certainly a grave area of concern," she said. "You never like to see the loss of life. Whenever you try to analyze it, could this have been prevented? Often it's domestic related or individuals who know each other."
Freeman-Wilson said the city and police department are also working with community groups. She also said she hopes arrests on other crimes deters people from being involved in violent crime.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Gary detectives at (219) 881-1210.
Times staff writer Elvia Malagon contributed to this report.