CROWN POINT — A father was charged Tuesday with murder on allegations he repeatedly shot his son during an altercation Saturday at their Crown Point home.

Jerome Wilderness Sr., 65, is accused of shooting Jerome Wilderness Jr., 39, Saturday night at their house in the 1200 block of West 97th Place, according to court documents.

Wilderness Sr. called police about 9:15 p.m. Saturday to report the shooting. The son was found in the home's basement suffering multiple gunshot wounds. He was later pronounced dead at Franciscan Crown Point Health hospital.

The father told police Wilderness Jr. was living with him while going through a divorce. His twin 1-year-old daughters were in the basement when the shooting occurred, documents state.

Wilderness Sr. claimed he and his son got into an altercation in the kitchen after he returned home from a high school basketball game in Gary. He said his son pushed him, and then went downstairs.

He said he followed his son and ordered him to leave the home. The son allegedly pushed the father again, which caused him to fall and break a glass table.

Wilderness Sr. told police his son jumped on him, so he reached for his .38 special revolver. He said his son tried to turn the weapon against him, so he fired three shots, striking Wilderness Jr. in the left leg, right lower abdomen and shoulder, according to documents.

A female relative said Wilderness Sr. had put the same .38 special revolver to her head Jan. 13 during a discussion about Wilderness Jr.'s divorce. She said the incident was not reported to police.

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Another female relative told police Wilderness Jr. said Wilderness Sr. was “abusive and intimidating,” prone to heavy drinking when he was employed, which made him a “monster."

A third female relative told police Wilderness Jr. tried to call her during the fight with his father. The call went to her phone's voicemail, which recorded the altercation, documents state.

Wilderness Sr. can be heard yelling at his son to leave the house in the message. Wilderness Jr. said, “You shot me, n*****,” then two pop sounds are heard, followed by, “Why Dad? Why Dad?”

In a news release Tuesday, Crown Point Police Chief Pete Land offered his condolences to the Wilderness family, including his children. 

“This is obviously a family tragedy that did not have to happen," Land said. 

Wilderness Sr. is charged in Lake Criminal Court with murder. He is not afforded bond on the charge.

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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.