Man found shot to death at Piatak Meats

2013-11-04T17:00:00Z 2013-11-06T13:27:07Z Man found shot to death at Piatak MeatsChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com
November 04, 2013 5:00 pm  • 

MERRILLVILLE | A Piatak Meats employee was shot to death Monday morning during a burglary at the facility, police said.

Andrew Fugate, 27, of Hobart, arrived for work about 4 a.m. to begin food preparation, said Robert Byrd, spokesman for the Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force.

Police were dispatched to the scene about 7 a.m., when a store manager found Fugate's body on Piatak's cooler floor as well as evidence of a burglary at the business at 6200 Broadway.

Byrd said nothing was reported stolen from Piatak Meats, but police have physical evidence indicating there was a burglary. He didn't described the type of evidence.

He said police have questioned several "persons of interest" in the shooting, but there are no suspects in custody as of Monday afternoon.

"The investigation is ongoing," Byrd said.

The Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force is assisting Merrillville detectives with the case.

Byrd said Fugate's family and current and past Piatak employees have been interviewed.

There is no video surveillance of the incident, and police are asking anyone with information to contact Robert Wiley, Merrillville's chief of detectives, at (219) 769-3531.

In particular, investigators are seeking people who may have witnessed any activity at Piatak Meats between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. Monday.

Byrd said there was an attempted burglary at the business in June, but burglars fled the area when the store's alarm activated. The alarm didn't sound during Monday's burglary because Fugate already was inside the business, Byrd said.

Leo Roccaforte, who owns Piatak Meats with Fugate's father, said Fugate was an employee there for about 10 years.

It was emotional at times for Roccaforte to describe Fugate.

"Just a good guy," he said.

Piatak Meats has been in existence for more than 100 years. Roccaforte has been an owner since 1985, he said.

Piatak Meats remained closed and surrounded by yellow caution tape Monday. It wasn't certain when the business would reopen.

There was no answer at Fugate's Hobart home Monday afternoon.

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