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MERRILLVILLE — Police are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect, or suspects, responsible for the shooting death of 17-year-old Jonas Smith. 

Smith was gunned down in a homicide at 5:24 a.m. Oct. 3 in the 4000 block of West 73rd Avenue, police said. 

Smith was found outside his home as Merrillville police responded to the area for a report of gunfire. 

He was taken to Methodist Hospitals Southlake Campus in Merrillville, where he died at 5:55 a.m., according to the Lake County coroner's office.

Merrillville police Cmdr. Jeff Rice said the shooting appeared to be an isolated case. 

The Merrillville Police Department assigned investigators to the FBI's Gang Response Investigative Team task force in March in an effort to address violent crime, according to the FBI.

It was the first time the department has assigned full-time investigators to the longstanding task force, which has long focused on gangs in Lake County's urban areas.

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GRIT provides resources such as funding, equipment, expertise, intelligence and FBI agents to cities that assign officers to the task force. GRIT is funded in part by the Indiana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area initiative and the FBI's Safe Streets and Gang Unit.

Other local departments that have teamed up with GRIT include the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, Hammond Police Department, Gary Police Department, Hobart Police Department and Indiana State Police.

Anyone with information about Smith's homicide is asked to call Detective Allison Ellis or Rice at 219-769-3722, ext. 349, or email Ellis at aellis@merrillville.in.gov.

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