Chesterton Tribune


Gary man charged in fatal I-80/94 on-ramp shooting

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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.


Posted 10/1/2012