The shooting deaths of Shaqwone Ham, 19, and his younger brother, Charles Wood, 18, have left the large family stunned. Dick Johnson reports.
Charges were pending Tuesday night against a 17-year-old already in custody and a 16-year-old still at large in connection with a shooting two days earlier that left a pair of Gary, Ind., brothers dead, police said.
Neither the suspects nor the victims -- Shaqwone Ham and his younger brother Charles Wood -- had criminal records, officials said, and that makes the still-unknown motive even more of a mystery.
Ham, 19, and Wood, 18, both of the 1100 block of Bigger Street in Gary, were on their way to their grandmother’s house for Sunday dinner when they were shot.
Cmdr. Kerry Rice, who has known the brothers and their family for many years, and who heads up a new community policing effort, arrived at the scene on 13th Avenue and Rutledge Street shortly after 3:55 p.m. when police received the call of two shooting victims.
"It really didn't hit me until Monday until I came back to work and sat in the office. I sat there and asked myself, 'Am I wasting my time?' But I really don't believe so. We can't let one tragedy derail everything that we're trying to do."
Rice, a Tolleston resident, said the young men had joined his family barbecues, swam in his pool and spent time with his family over the years.
He recently spoke to Wood, who was in high school, and asked if he was staying out of trouble.
"He told me he was on the honor roll," Rice said.
When Cpl. Marcus Harris and Patrolmen Tommie Tatum and Donte Manual arrived at the scene Sunday, Wood was lying on 13th Avenue with a gunshot wound to his head. He was taken to The Methodist Hospitals Northlake campus where he died Monday afternoon in the intensive care unit.
His brother was found lying face down near the southwest corner of 2558 W. 13th Ave. Ham was pronounced dead at the scene, but the Lake County coroner, Merrillee Frey, did not confirm his death until almost 24 hours later.
As police gathered evidence at the scene, a 15-year-old Tarrytown teen reported that he had been robbed as he walked near Tolleston Park, which is directly south of the double shooting. The robbery victim told Patrolman Jeffrey Patrick that three men and a woman approached him and two of the men showed handguns. One of the armed men ordered the victim to remove his hooded sweatshirt and shoes while another grabbed his headphones.
Patrick alerted Violent Crimes Detective Lorenzo Davis to the robbery after the victim said he heard gunshots in the direction the suspects ran moments after they fled with his belongings.
Police said they are investigating whether there is a link between the two crimes.
Davis is investigating the robbery and the double homicide. Anyone with information about either crime can call him at 219-881-4738.
Ham and Wood bring the city’s homicide total for the year to eight, compared to five violent deaths at this time in 2012.