Merrillville Murder Leaves Patrons Surprised
November 4, 2013 — Tonight police are searching for a killer after finding a grisly scene in Merrillville today.
A Hobart man was found murdered inside his family business at 6200 Broadway.
What began as a typical day at Piatak Meats in Merrillville became one of mourning, as workers arrived to yellow police tape and the murder of a friend.
Business co-owner Leo Roccaforte says, “He was a meat cutter. He did all the grinding for the meat and sausage for our business. It’s my partner, so, uh, there’s not much I can say. I’m like in a state of shock.”
Merrillville Police say that around 7 a.m. a store manager discovered the body of 27-year-old Andrew Fugate of Hobart inside a meat cooler. The victim’s father is part owner of the meat business.
The Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force confirms Fugate was shot, and there are no leads for a suspect.
Roccaforte says the apparent homicide is unexpected at the small business that has served patrons since 1959, “Family business and, you know, we got a lot of repeat customers. Generations to generations, they keep coming. The grandma come, and then the kids come, and that’s what this business was built on.”
A business built on the patronage of people like Marvelle Barksdale of Gary, “My father, may he rest in peace, this is where he shopped. Being a steel worker, you know, back in the sixties and fifties, he always looked for places to shop for his family of nine children.”
When Barksdale stopped at a nearby business for breakfast, she says she was shocked by the crime scene, “Stuff like this just don’t happen, especially out here in Merrillville. You’re talking about right here on 61st, you find a dead body at a place that everybody patronizes. And you know the holidays: where are they going to go now?”
Officials are asking anyone with any related information to contact the Merrillville Police Department at 219-769-3531.