Criminal Justice

Merrillville Police Release New Video in Homicide

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February 24th — More than 3 months after his brutal death, residents are learning more about the victim of a homicide at a family business in Merrillville — and evidence from the night he lost his life.

Today, Merrillville Police Department released more details, including surveillance video, about the shooting death of 25-year-old Andrew Fugate. Around 7 a.m. on November 4, 2013 a store employee found Fugate locked inside Piatak Meats at 6200 Broadway. He had three gunshots to the head.

“[The family] said from the very beginning that Andrew was a quiet, likeable kid and we found no evidence of anything otherwise,” says Robert Wiley, chief of detectives for Merrillville Police Department.

Officials released several clips of security video footage from nearby businesses which they say captures a vehicle crucial to solving the crime.

The video shows a light-colored SUV believed to be a large model GM — approaching and leaving the scene on the day of the homicide. Wiley says the footage shows two occupants exit the SUV and enter Piatak Meats.

“They had come to commit their crime on this day,” he says. “They pull straight in; they back in behind the business, exit the vehicle, go inside the business for approximately ten minutes, exit and drive back north. There was no rush and there was no speed. It was all them coming in and handling business.”

Police say they hope someone recognizes the vehicle, which was spotted driving southbound on Broadway from the 4800 block to Piatak and back northbound again.
A $10,000 reward is available for any information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case.

Merrillville police are working with detectives from the Northwest Major Crimes Task Force and The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in identifying suspects in the case.

“We want to find out whom before we find out why,” Wiley says. “We have several people of interest right now that we’re looking at. We’re obtaining information and getting background data on them.”

Wiley confirms there is currently no determined motive, but says officers have ruled out burglary because nothing was taken from the homicide scene.

But officials say it is possible Fugate knew the shooter because the business door was locked from the inside. “”I will not rule out the fact that he opened the door for someone that he knew. I would say that that’s very safe to say,” says Wiley.

Officials say Fugate was likable and say his early-morning death was senseless.

“It was family, work, church, and the family is completely devastated by this,” Wiley says. “None of them can think of any reason whatsoever that anyone would have to come and even have a confrontation with Andrew at his place of business at that hour.”

Officers say anyone with information can leave an anonymous tip by calling ATF at 1 – 800 – ATF – GUNS or the Merrillville police at 219 – 769 – 3531 ext. 545.

By: Hilary Powell

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