northwest Indiana

Teen Charged With Killing Indiana Boy During Robbery Attempt

The teen took off running when an assailant took out a gun, and he was shot in the back

One of the teenagers arrested earlier this week by Lake Country Sheriff's police in the murder of a 16-year-old boy is now facing murder charges. 

According to prosecutors, 17-year-old Garry Lee Higgins is being charged with numerous felony charges, including murder and murder in the perpetration of a robbery.

Authorities say 16-year-old Johnny Peluyera was trying to sell his Xbox in Gary on June 12 when Higgins allegedly pulled out a gun. Peluyera tried to flee from the scene, but was shot in the back.

According to authorities, a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old were taken into custody at Lake County Jail earlier this week after a tactical unit executed search warrants on a home in Gary and Crown Point, Indiana.

"This is a crime that touched the hearts of residents here in Lake County and surrounding areas, and also across the country," Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. said. 

Authorities believe Peluyera was looking to sell the game system to have the money for a new iPhone, but after he listed the Xbox on the website “Offer Up,” the transaction went horribly wrong.

Authorities say that the teen and his father met the buyers at 51st and Maryland in Gary, where one of the buyers pulled out a gun. According to the boy’s uncle, he told Johnny to give the robbers the game system, but instead he took off running.

The assailants then fired at the boy, striking him in the back. He would later die from his injuries.

“A mother and a father should never have to bury their child. They’re beside themselves,” Peluyera’s uncle Joe Bernacet said.

Police are still encouraging the public to be careful in conducting sales arranged on the internet, and offering the safety of the police station for those looking to make such transactions in a public place.

The boy’s family says they are thankful for the overwhelming support they’ve received from the community, saying it’s helping them get through a difficult time.

“For the two individuals who did this, you don’t even know what you’ve done,” an emotional Bernacet said.

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