Victim ID'd in Portage slaying

2012-12-11T15:30:00Z 2012-12-12T10:33:04Z Victim ID'd in Portage slayingBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com
December 11, 2012 3:30 pm  • 

PORTAGE | An Indianapolis man has been identified as the victim in the city's second homicide in just over a month.

Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said 38-year-old Wilson Rivera was shot at least once in the head Monday night and was pronounced dead at the scene in the 2100 block of Crisman Road.

Rivera, who lived in Gary as recent as this summer, had been arrested numerous times over the last 14 years in Porter County, including charges of invasion of privacy and public intoxication in July, according to the Porter County Sheriff's Department.

Portage police said they were called out around 5:45 p.m. Monday after a gunshot was heard and a car was seen with its headlights on in a driveway located at the northeast corner of Crisman Road and the railroad tracks north of Portage Avenue.

Officers found Rivera on the ground at the driver's side of the vehicle, which was not registered to a Portage resident or the victim, police said.

The caller to 911 told dispatchers a person was running east along the railroad tracks in the wooded area just after the gunshot was heard

"We don't believe it was a random shooting," Portage Police Sgt. Keith Hughes said Tuesday morning. "It's possible the victim knew who shot him."

Portage Police Chief Troy Williams said Monday's shooting appears to be an isolated incident, which makes it similar to the Nov. 1 suspected murder-for-hire shooting that left Carl Griffith Sr. dead outside his home in the 2700 block of Locust Street.

Two are in custody for the Nov. 1 shooting and Williams said protecting city residents from outside influences is no new challenge for the police department.

"The message to the 'bad guys' who commit a crime in Portage will continue to be loud and clear; we will avail ourselves of all possible resources and will not rest until you are brought to justice," Williams said.

A resident in the area of the shooting, who asked not to be identified, said Tuesday she did not hear a gunshot and did not realize there was a problem until she looked out and saw a large number of police cars.

"I thought it was a wreck," she said.

Police investigators returned to the scene late Tuesday morning and searched the site using a metal detector.

Police do not believe the owners of the property where the shooting occurred had anything to do with the crime, he said.

A search Monday involving a police dog and helicopter failed to nab a suspect.

Police ask anyone with information about this investigation to call detectives at (219) 762-3122.

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