A charge against a Gary firefighter who was accused of harboring a fugitive in September's gang-related shooting at the Walmart in Hobart has been dismissed.
On Monday Judge Salvador Vasquez dismissed the assisting a criminal charge against Tyrone L. Jackson Jr., 24, of the Gary Fire Department, according to court records.
Authorities alleged Jackson allowed Alex C. Hughes to hide in his Gary house for more than a week, despite knowing Hughes was wanted by police for his role in the Sept. 30 shooting at the Hobart store that wounded a man and a 9-year-old boy.
Hughes was charged with two counts of attempted murder, aggravated battery, criminal gang activity and criminal recklessness. Hughes has a pretrial conference on Feb. 14, according to court documents.
However, Jackson said he was trying to help Hughes turn himself into the police the day the two men met up. Jackson told detectives in a statement he grew up in the same neighborhood as Hughes and they had known each other for the majority of their lives.
“I try to get all of my friends to do the right thing, that's why Alex contacted me,” Jackson said. “I'm the most stable person he knows.”
Jackson said he met with Hughes at his house to discuss hiring an attorney, but claimed it was before a warrant was issued for Hughes' arrest, records state. Jackson said at the time, Hughes was a person of interest.
“He told me it was self-defense,” Jackson said. “I asked him, 'Did you shoot a little boy?' And he said he never saw a little boy. He said they tried to attack him.”
Jackson said he doesn't believe he should have been penalized for “trying to do the right thing.”
“I feel like I did the right thing as a public servant,” Jackson said. “I was trying to help him turn himself in and make sure he has his rights with a lawyer. I didn't do anything illegal. I was trying to help a friend.”
Jackson said he was treated unfairly when he was interrogated and booked on Oct. 16. He alleged he was told to strip off his clothes while being transported and was escorted into the Hobart County Jail with just underwear and socks on. He said he is currently speaking with an attorney about filing a lawsuit against the case detectives.
“I have a voicemail from a lawyer we were contacting that day,” Jackson said. “If I didn't have that, I think I would've gone down for something I didn't do.”
Jackson was removed from the city's payroll in October pending the final disposition in the case, though they allowed him to complete the first segment of training, according to Gary officials.
He said his employers told him once they confirm the case's conclusion with his attorney next week, he can resume work.
“I want to make sure my reputation is cleared,” Jackson said. “I grew up here and I want to work in this city to show kids that they can come from nothing like me and be something. With this happening, it hurt my reputation. I want to be known as a good person because I am a good person.”