HOBART — The 25-year-old man shot Sunday at Walmart has been wounded in three separate shootings since his release from prison in June, according to police and court records.
The Gary man charged Tuesday with shooting Kyran Hawthorne Sr., of Gary, and his 9-year-old son at the Hobart Walmart had been awaiting sentencing for misdemeanor possession of cocaine in a 2016 case where police also seized an AK-47 and a Glock handgun.
Alex C. Hughes, 26, and Hawthorne belong to rival gangs in Gary's Glen Park neighborhood, according to court records.
Hughes is accused of shooting Hawthorne and Hawthorne's son after "mean mugging" him during a chance encounter inside the Hobart Walmart off U.S. 30. A warrant has been issued for his arrest on two felony counts of attempted murder, felony aggravated battery and criminal gang activity.
Police first became aware of the two gangs in 2011, though the groups initially formed an alliance, according to court records.
A feud between the groups reached a fever pitch July 11, 2015, when alleged Glen Park Affiliates associate John T. Davis and alleged Get Fresh Boys associate Ronald Steward were wounded in a shooting in the 3500 block of Polk Street in Gary's Glen Park neighborhood, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Hughes' case.
"This is believed to be the first time that the two groups wounded each other as a result of gunfire," court records state.
Hughes and Ronald Steward each were charged in June 2016 after police investigating a report of a man with a gun stopped a black Chevrolet Blazer near 39th Avenue and Tyler Street.
Police found a bag containing 0.2 grams of suspected cocaine on the center console next to Hughes, the driver, court records state. Officers also found an AK-47, Glock handgun and bag of suspected marijuana in the passenger area near Steward.
Steward pleaded guilty in 2017 to felony carrying a handgun without a license and was sentenced to 18 months in the Lake County Community Corrections program, records show.
Hughes pleaded guilty Nov. 16, 2017, to misdemeanor possession of a narcotic drug. His sentencing hearing has been delayed several times and is currently set for Nov. 15.
Police suspect Hughes and four other alleged gang members took part in a shooting Dec. 14, 2014, in the Glen Park area, court records say.
Hawthorne was released from prison in early June after serving more than five years for resisting law enforcement and attempted robbery convictions, according to Indiana Department of Correction records.
On June 24, Hawthorne was among four men shot about 11 p.m. in the 2500 block of Harrison Street, Gary police Cmdr. Jack Hamady said.
Hawthorne, a 21-year-old man and an 18-year-old man were wounded, and 19-year-old Jazaniel Davis, of Merrillville, was killed. Handgun rounds were recovered from the scene, police said.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective Jeff Minchuk of the Gary/Lake County Metro Homicide Unit at 219-755-3855.
Hawthorne suffered another gunshot wound — this time to the back — and a 21-year-old was shot in the arm and knee the night of Aug. 17, Hamady said.
Hawthorne was driving east on 41st Avenue when another car pulled up alongside him and someone in that car opened fire. Hawthorne crashed in a vacant lot near 41st and Jefferson Street. As Hawthorne and two associates attempted to run, the shooters continued to target them, police said.
Hawthorne and the 21-year-old were wounded, but a 29-year-old man escaped injury. Officers arrived and recovered handgun rounds from the scene.
The 21-year-old told police he didn't want to talk to them, Hamady said. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective Sgt. Daniel Callahan at 219-881-1210.
In the Walmart shooting, Hughes is accused of shooting at Hawthorne as Hawthorne's son and girlfriend walked behind him. After the 9-year-old boy fell to the ground, Hawthorne's girlfriend lay on top of the boy to shield him from the gunfire.
Hughes is accused of walking by her as she lay on the ground and saying, "You're lucky I don't shoot you, too, b----."
Police recovered 10 spent .40-caliber bullet casings and 16 spent 9mm casings from the scene, court records say.
The .40-caliber bullets likely were fired by an associate of Hawthorne's, who told police he returned fire because he feared he was in danger, court records say.
An off-duty Gary police officer, who was shopping with his family when the gunfire broke out, recovered a .40-caliber Glock handgun from the associate's waistband.
Hobart police have not ruled out seeking additional charges against more people as the investigation continues, Lt. James Gonzales said. Anyone with information is asked to contact Sgt. Nicholas Wardrip at firstname.lastname@example.org or 219-942-4900.
Gary's anonymous crime tip line is 866-CRIME-GP.