A Gary man has been charged with the shooting death last month of a motorist
on an I-80/94 on-ramp, the Lake County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said.
Rickey O’Neal Smith Jr., 29, was charged with murder last week, in
connection with the death of Tyron Hopkins, 44, also of Gary.
Hopkins was fatally wounded at 10:39 a.m. on the ramp from southbound Grant
Street to eastbound I-80, after a second motorist pulled alongside Hopkins’
Ford Escort and shot him in the head. Hopkins later died at Northlake
Methodist Hospital in Gary.
According to the probable cause affidavit filed by Det. Brian Kubiak of the
Indiana State Police, Hopkins’ brother advised that he and Smith “had been
in conflict for some time” and that on the day in question Smith had
approached him at the Gap Stop on Fifth Ave. and Marshall Street in Gary and
offered to fight. Hopkins’ brother told Smith that he didn’t want to fight,
got back into his own vehicle, and left the scene, followed however by Smith
in his Kia, Kubiak stated in his affidavit.
Smith continued to follow Hopkins’ brother to the McDonald’s at Fifth Ave.
and Grant Street but, apparently spotting a Gary Police squad car at the
McDonald’s, did not follow Hopkins’ brother into the lot.
A short time later, Hopkins himself called his brother by cell phone and
told him that now Smith was following him instead. Hopkins’ brother was able
to catch up to the two and saw Smith following his brother, then saw his
brother pull to the side of the I-80/94 on-ramp, apparently to let Smith
pass him, Kubiak stated.
But Smith instead fired a handgun through his passenger’s window and shot
Hopkins, Kubiak stated.