Community Remembers Gary School Advisory Board Member Killed in Shooting

Norman Bailey was found shot to death inside his own bar near 16th Avenue and Pennsylvania Street in Gary.

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Family and friends of Norman Bailey say he lived his life to the fullest—serving God and trying to make his community a better place.

“He was fighting for good things, positive things,” his sister, Debra Tolbert,said. “Because he wanted everybody to have the same things that he had.”

Tolbert said her brother was a devout Christian, loved his wife and children, and served on the advisory board for the Gary Community School Corporation.

“I miss him dearly, I would be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t angry,” she said. “I’m very angry. He was a nice person. He’s gone too soon, and he was unarmed. He just didn’t deserve it.”

According to Gary police, officers were called early Friday morning to the Blue Room Lounge for a shooting. When officers arrived, they found the 60-year-old shot to death inside his own bar near 16th Avenue and Pennsylvania Street. 

“As they were having them exit for 3 o’clock closing that’s when this verbal argument began with our victim,” said Gary Police Dept. Commander Jack Hamady. “That’s when the individual that is our suspect he began shooting.”

Police said the shooting also injured a 28-year-old man who is believed to be a relative. It’s unclear what led to the argument.

“You have to be a monster, and you have to be Satan’s child to want to shoot somebody that was unarmed in close range like that,” Tolbert said. “I would like to tell that person who did this you have upset my family, you have caused so much pain to my family, and we forgive you because we love God.”

As police continue their investigation, loved ones are relaying on their faith to get through this difficult time and say Bailey’s legacy will live on.

“We’re going to keep honoring him everyday that we can by doing some of the things that he was doing, helping people, giving back and not turning our back on people,” said Tolbert.

Bailey served on the advisory board for the past two years and had plans to run for Calumet Township trustee.

“This is a tremendous loss for the city of Gary period,” said Robert Buggs, advisory board president. “Because like I said, everybody that loved Gary loved Norman.”

Buggs said Bailey always did what’s best for his hometown and left a lasting mark on his community.

“I just want the world to know that if there’s more people like Norman Bailey—this world would be a better world,” Buggs said.

Police said there is surveillance video of the shooting. Detectives are still in the process of pulling that video to try to identify the suspect.

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