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Teen charged with robbery after pot deal leads to shooting in Merrillville

Updated: December 8, 2012 6:35AM



A Gary teen is in custody facing robbery, battery and handgun charges after a Saturday night shooting during a marijuana deal.

Larry Darnell Hopkins III, 16, was charged in Lake Superior Court with robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, battery by means of a deadly weapon and carrying a handgun without a license in the incident in which the victim was shot in the chest. The most serious of the charges is punishable by 20 to 50 years.

“Look, I’m the shooter,” Hopkins told Merrillville police Cpl. Jeffrey Bunnell, who spotted Hopkins walking in the 6900 block of Broadway and noticed he matched the description of one of the individuals involved in the shooting at a home on 72nd Place.

Bunnell asked Hopkins if he had heard any gunshots and Hopkins replied that he had heard some earlier, the probable cause affidavit states. The officer also asked whether Hopkins knew anything about the incident and Hopkins said he did because he was at the house where it happened, court records state.

While sitting in the police department squad room, Hopkins made the admission.

After being advised of his constitutional and civil rights and after consulting with his father at the police station, Hopkins told police he was with another person when he received a phone call from someone he knows as “Charlie” who was going to buy some marijuana and asked them to back him up. Hopkins and the other suspect were waiting on a bike trail behind the victim’s home.

After receiving a phone call from the buyer, Hopkins and his associate walked to the front of the house and saw a man pointing a pistol at the third man. He said he fired three times and ran.

The victim, Levi Lungaro, told police he was going to sell marijuana to someone he didn’t know very well, so he got a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun and put it in his waistband, then stepped out on the porch to complete the transaction.

He said saw two males wearing black hoodies and bandannas coming around the west side of the house pointing guns at him. He asked the buyer who the guys were, and the taller of the two masked men took the marijuana money from him and the buyer. He displayed the gun in his waistband and began to draw it and was shot by the taller of the two individuals. Lungaro then ran next door for help.

Police recovered a .38-caliber revolver.



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