{{featured_button_text}}
Hobart police investigating shooting near mall

Hobart and Lake County sheriff's police investigate a shooting Monday near the Firestone Complete Auto Care at Southlake Mall in Hobart.

HOBART — Police continued working Tuesday to identify a suspect a day after a man was shot in the face while driving in the area of Southlake Mall, an official said.

Hobart police were called at 11:43 a.m. Monday to the Firestone Complete Auto Care for a person who had been shot, Lt. James Gonzales said.

Officers located the 40-year-old Gary man, who had an apparent gunshot wound to the left side of his cheek, he said.

The man told police he was stopped at the stop sign facing west near the Olive Garden restaurant when a black-colored pickup truck turned into the mall parking lot from U.S. 30 and headed east through the intersection, Gonzales said.

The man said the pickup driver fired one shot at him, and the bullet passed through the driver's side window of his car. The pickup driver then sped off east on the outer drive of the parking lot, police said.

The man's car ended up rolling to a stop at the Firestone building, Gonzales said.

A black Nissan Maxima with a driver's side window that appeared to be damaged by gunfire was towed away just before 1 p.m. from outside the Firestone building, 1700 Southlake Mall. The Nissan had come to rest against the building. 

The Gary man was taken to a local hospital and later transferred to a Chicago-area hospital for treatment, Gonzales said.

Witnesses told police they heard one shot and saw a black, late-1990s-model Ford F-150 pickup with an extended cab, rust along the bottom side of the truck and a "4X4" logo on the rear quarter panels, Gonzales said. 

Witnesses also told police they saw a person exit the passenger side of the victim's car and run. The shooting victim did not initially tell police he had a passenger in his car, police said.

Gonzales said the shooting was being investigated as an isolated case, because of the limited amount of information provided by the victim. Evidence also was still being gathered and processed, he said.

The shooting sparked a manhunt Monday in the area of the mall.

Police canvassed the area around the mall for several hours, Gonzales said. Lake County sheriff's patrol officers, a K-9 unit and helicopter also were dispatched to assist Hobart police with the investigation.

Sheriff's police were seen detaining a man in the area of Mississippi Street and 73rd Avenue, but he was not linked to the shooting, department spokesman Mark Back said.

The 22-year-old Merrillville man was arrested on a warrant for operator's licence never issued, Back said.

Investigators continued to contact businesses Tuesday in the mall area in an attempt to gather surveillance video related to the shooting, Gonzales said. 

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Detective Scott Shaginaw at 219-942-4654 or shaginaw@cityofhobart.org. Gonzales said the safety of any witnesses is paramount, so they will remain anonymous.

1
3
6
3
12

Public Safety Reporter

Sarah covers crime, federal courts and breaking news for The Times. She joined the paper in 2004 after graduating from Purdue University Calumet.