PORTAGE | A Portage woman and a Gary man were charged Tuesday with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the Nov. 1 shooting death of Carl Griffith Sr. at his Portage home.
Police believe Sheaurice Major, 42, of 5236 Mulberry Ave., hired Dontaye Singletary, 20, of 501 Pennsylvania St. in Gary, to carry out the crime against the 72-year-old tow truck driver.
Major was taken into custody Friday at the Portage Police Department and is being held at Porter County Jail without bond.
Portage police and the U.S. Marshals Service are searching for Singletary, according to Portage Police Chief Troy Williams.
Williams said he believes Singletary is still in the area and asked anyone who sees him to contact their local police department.
Police pieced together the details of the crime by tracing down a telephone used that day to call Griffith to Gary. He received an offer to tow or purchase a car, according to charging information. When he arrived, a man -- believed to be Singletary -- began shooting until his weapon jammed and Griffith fled.
The phone's owner told police Singletary asked her to call the towing company. She also told police she believes Singletary is a Vice Lord gang member.
Another woman identified through Major's telephone contact list told police Major contacted her a week before the fatal shooting and asked if she knew of anyone who could do harm to Griffith, according to police.
Major was put in touch with Singletary and the woman, who spoke with police, said she was instructed by Major to wait on the day of the shooting at the corner of Hickory Street and Concord Avenue near Griffith's house.
The woman said she heard gun shots and a short time later Singletary ran up to her car, according to charging information. As they drove to Gary, she said Singletary told her, "I got him."
Griffith was shot three times at about 8 p.m., shortly after coming home from work to the 2700 block of Locust Street, police said. He was pronounced dead at Porter hospital in Portage.
Williams, who would not comment on the motive for the crime, said police believe Singletary used a rifle-style weapon to kill Griffith.
The woman told police she dropped off Singletary across the street from the U.S. Steel Yard in Gary. She said Major called her about 30 minutes later to drive back to Portage to pick up $200 for herself and a sealed envelope which she delivered to Singletary, according to police.
Major reportedly told police the woman did return to her home on the day of the shooting, but said it was to pick up "an order of pot."
Williams said the shooting was an isolated incident and he does not believe the public is at risk.