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Man shot while shielding baby on I-80/94, records say

Man shot while shielding baby on I-80/94, records say


CROWN POINT — A man was shot multiple times as he shielded his 16-month-old son last week while riding in the backseat of a car that was riddled with gunfire on the Borman Expressway, court records show.

The 23-year-old man and an 11-year-old front-seat passenger were wounded in the shooting about 5:25 p.m. Friday on westbound Interstate 80/94, between Burr Street and Cline Avenue. The baby and a woman driving the car weren't hurt.

Naja S. Wilder, 19, of Richton Park; a 17-year-old, of Park Forest; a 16-year-old, of Hammond; and a 17-year-old, of Sauk Village, each was charged Monday with four felony counts of attempted murder and three counts of criminal recklessness in connection with the shooting Friday on Interstate 80/94 near Burr Street.

Police arrested the four defendants early Saturday after a man called 911 and reported he had followed his relative's stolen gold 2017 Kia Sportage from Interstate 80/94 to an apartment complex near 19th Avenue and Burr Street in Gary, court records state. The man told police he watched the four exit the vehicle and enter an apartment building.

Court records did not reveal a motive for the shooting.

The victims lived in the same apartment complex where the defendants were arrested. One of the suspects was dating a cousin of a woman who also rented an apartment at the complex, records say.

The owner of the gold Kia told police two men carjacked her Friday in Burnham, Illinois. She identified one of the suspects in a photo lineup as the person who pointed a silver semi-automatic handgun at her face and demanded her car, records allege.

Later Friday, the 23-year-old Gary man was riding in the backseat of his relative's silver 2017 Kia Forte when gunfire struck the car as they entered westbound I-80/94 at Burr Street, records state. The man ducked and was shot in the legs several times as he covered his son, records say.

Witnesses told police the gold Kia rammed into the family's silver Kia several times before the shooting. The woman driving the silver Kia pulled to the shoulder, and someone in the gold Kia pointed a gun out the window and fired into the silver car, records allege.

Indiana State Police arrived and discovered the silver Kia had been shot at least 20 times and two other vehicles were damaged by the gunfire.

Just after midnight, a man called 911 to report he had located his mother's stolen gold Kia on I-80/94 and followed it to an apartment complex at 19th Avenue and Burr Street in Gary, records say.

The man told police he watched as Wilder, the two 17-year-olds and the 16-year-old exited the car and entered an apartment. When police arrived, they took the four defendants into custody.

A woman who was renting the apartment consented to a search, records say. Police found a loaded .45-caliber silver semi-automatic handgun with a drug magazine on a couch and three more firearms under the couch cushions, including two black semi-automatic handguns and a black Uzie-style semi-automatic handgun.

Police also observed numerous spent semi-automatic shell casings inside the gold Kia, records say.

An initial hearing had not yet been set for Wilder, or the three other suspects, online court records showed Tuesday.

Recent arrests booked into Lake County Jail


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