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Family mourns loss of teen son in Merrillville shooting

Merrillville police Det. Sgt. Bob Morgan (from left) Det. Commander Robert Wiley Det. Ray Smith speak during press conference about

Merrillville police Det. Sgt. Bob Morgan, (from left) Det. Commander Robert Wiley and Det. Ray Smith speak during a press conference about the recent gang initiation shooting at the Merrillville Police Department in Merrillville, Ind. Wednesday April 3, 2013. Four people have been arrested in the shooting death of a teenage boy. | Stephanie Dowell~ for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 5, 2013 2:14PM



Depree Mims’ family members describe him as a well mannered and respectful 14-year-old who never had been in any trouble. His family was very protective of him, with his seven brothers and sisters insisting on accompanying him if Mims wanted to head to Greater Destiny Bible Church in East Chicago, where he was practicing to be on the dance team.

“He was a perfect child, all anyone could ask for,” his father, Depree Dalton, said of his son, who was killed March 27 — one month before his 15th birthday.

Mims’ family was in the living room, preparing to watch a movie the night of March 27. He stood up to get a blanket when he was struck in the head by a bullets that came through a window. He died two days later at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

“We’re trying to stay strong. That’s all we can do. But it hurts real bad. Everyone’s taking it really hard,” Dalton said.

Mims’ death appears to be a tragic case of mistaken identity and part of a gang initiation, Merrillville police said. Detectives detailed the circumstances of Mims’ death and the status of the investigation at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

Merrillville residents Matthew Knight, 16, and Kevin Brown, 18, and Gary residents Joshua Addison, 21, and Anthony Addison, 22, are charged with murder and criminal gang activity. They are at the Lake County Jail. Joshua Addison is on probation for robbery, a class C felony.

Joshua Addison was angry after being robbed by a person named “J,” who he thought lived in the home in the 7500 block of Marshall Street, and he directed Brown to shoot into the house as part of the initiation, according to the probable cause affidavit. But police said no one in the house has any gang ties.

Detective Ray Smith said police haven’t found the murder weapon, but they know what they’re looking for due to the six shell casings found at the scene. Smith declined to identify the likely weapon.

Detective Cmdr. Robert Wiley said Mims’ neighborhood isn’t known for gang activity but police have stepped up patrols in the wake of his death.

“This is a blue-collar, residential neighborhood,” Wiley said. “This was not an act of random violence. We believe the house was targeted.”

Wiley said police are actively looking for additional suspects in the case.

Anyone with further information may contact Merrillville police at 769-3531.

Correspondent Karen Caffarini contributed to this report.



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