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Members of Northwest Indiana’s legislative delegation said they were shocked to learn that someone they know has been identified as the accused killer of T. Edward Page, a respected member of the legal community.

“That just blew my mind. It was like somebody punched you in the gut,” said state Sen. Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago.

Sources close to the investigation have identified Bill Landske, husband of the late state Sen. Sue Landske, R-Cedar Lake, as the alleged shooter.

Randolph said he knew Sue Landske even before he was in the General Assembly. She ran the Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch where Randolph’s father worked as the examiner for driving tests.

Randolph knew Page well, too. Page was a law clerk assisting Randolph when they worked in the Lake County prosecutor’s office.

Page was one of the smartest people around, Randolph said, so attorneys liked to rub it in whenever they discovered they were right and Page was wrong.

“You realize how precious life is, and it can be taken from you just like that,” Randolph said.

State Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, called the news “a super shock.”

Bill Landske was “always such a mild-mannered man” when he accompanied his wife to events while she was in the Indiana Senate, Brown said.

State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, said Bill Landske and Soliday’s wife would go to events for lawmakers’ spouses when Soliday and other legislators were at summer conferences.

“My total experience with the guy was he was a very gentle spirit, very quiet,” Soliday said. “I’d never heard anything to the contrary.”

“I’m just stunned and feel terrible for everyone involved,” Soliday said.

State Sen. Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell, has known the Landskes a long time. The Niemeyers and Landskes’ political lives were connected through the Indiana Senate.

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“She finished my dad’s term, and she was in that seat until she decided not to run again, and then I took that seat,” Niemeyer explained.

Niemeyer said his reaction was “disbelief, like anyone else.”

State Rep. Michael Aylesworth, R-Hebron, and his wife, Dolores, have known the Landske family a long time. Dolores Aylesworth and Page knew each other because they were both public defenders and ran into each other at conferences and other events.

“Like many of us, we can’t hardly believe it,” Michael Aylesworth said. “My wife and I were speechless.”

“It’s shocking when someone you know is killed by someone else you know,” he said.

State Rep. Chuck Moseley, D-Portage, was similarly stunned.

“I just this minute finished reading the article in the paper about it, and I was sitting here with my mouth dropped open when you called,” he said.

State Sen. Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond, was “just shocked” to learn Bill Landske was implicated in the crime, he said.

“He always seemed to be rather stable and good-natured,” he said.

Landske also served two terms on the Cedar Lake Town Council after voters swept him and other Republicans to power in the 2003 general election.

He served on the council from 2004 to 2011. 

"I just couldn't believe he would do something like this. I just thought it had to be a different Bill Landske," said Cedar Lake Town Councilman Robert H. "Bob" Carnahan, who served with Landske for four years. 

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Porter County Government Reporter

Senior reporter Doug Ross, an award-winning writer, has been covering Northwest Indiana for more than 35 years, including more than a quarter of a century at The Times.

Northlake County Reporter

Lauren covers North Lake County government, breaking news, crime and environmental issues for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.