After nearly a decade passed since the fatal shooting of Jeremiah Higgins, Portage police announced that a man has been arrested and charged with his murder.
Dominique Karion Smith, 29, was charged Friday with Higgins' death following an anonymous tip earlier in the week, Portage Chief Troy Williams said.
Higgins, 27, was shot and killed May 15, 2009, at Canden Apartments. Police have said Higgins' death may have been a tragic case of mistaken identity.
At 11 p.m. on that night in 2009, a young woman knocked on the door of Higgins' apartment. The woman asked for "Tommy," but when she was told no one by that name was there, a man with a gun who had been hiding in the hallway burst into the apartment.
According to police, the man demanded money and repeatedly demanded to know where “Tommy” was.
Witnesses told police Higgins confronted the gunman in an attempt to protect others in his apartment. The weapon was fired multiple times, hitting Higgins twice, during a struggle with the intruder.
The man fled and Higgins was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The Portage Police Department immediately launched an investigation into the homicide however a suspect was not found at that time.
"There are instances in major cases that closure or justice sometimes is not as fast as we or the family would like," Williams wrote in a news release. "However, that never stops us from seeking it or reigniting an investigation when we receive new information."
On the third anniversary of Higgins' death, Portage Detective Cpl. Janis Regnier asked the public's help in finding Higgins' murderer, saying "someone, somewhere knows who went to that apartment on that rainy, Friday night."
In a 2009 Times article, Cindy Higgins, the victim's mother, described her son as a genuine Christian man who sought to help others.
"He moved into the apartment complex as a mission trip," she said. "I told him, 'You're going to get yourself killed.' He said, 'Whatever it takes.' ... Jeremy fulfilled the mission God sent him on."
Police arrested Smith at 5:45 p.m. Thursday at his workplace in Valparaiso and he was taken into custody by Portage police Detectives Cpt. Joe Reynolds, Lt. Dennis Meyers, Mike Vaughan, Phil Garzella, Scott Harmeling, Kurt Biggs and Nicole Heuberger.
Smith is being held in Porter County Jail awaiting an initial hearing. Williams said he hopes this arrest will bring peace of mind to Higgins' loved ones.
"On behalf of the Portage Police Department, we again want to extend our condolences to them and it is our sincere hope that this arrest will bring the depth of closure they had long been awaiting," Williams said.