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Home invasion, early-morning shooting bring Gary holiday weekend homicide total to four

Police found van reported missing early this morning 1900 block PennsylvaniStreet. The man who was shot was dead inside. His

Police found the van reported missing early this morning in the 1900 block of Pennsylvania Street. The man who was shot was dead inside. His female companion was also wounded but jumped out of the van when a passenger shot them both. | Post-Tribune Photo

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Updated: January 4, 2014 6:10AM

GARY — The death toll reached three here Monday morning when police found a shooting victim in a van on a Midtown street known for drug activity.

That brought the holiday weekend total to four homicides and four more gunshot victims.

Police had sent out an alert before dawn Monday for a white 1999 Chrysler minivan belonging to a 33-year-old Gary woman who was shot in the neck about 3:30 a.m. The alleged shooter was an acquaintance of the woman’s boyfriend, Damian Reedus, 34.

Aja Jester told police she and Reedus were in the van when the acquaintance shot him, then her. She was able to jump out of the van on 21st Avenue between Georgia and Virginia streets and call police, spokeswoman Cpl. Gabrielle King said. Jester believed her boyfriend was dead, so when officers found a man’s body about a mile away, on Georgia Street just north of the Interstate 94 overpass, they believed that dead man was her boyfriend.

But as police investigated the scene, they learned the dead man was not Reedus, but Andre Woods, 28, a known associate of Reedus.

Both men have lengthy criminal records involving possession and sale of drugs. Woods was wounded last year at his home, which was firebombed the next day.

The van was found about 9:30 a.m. parked on the east side of 1900 Pennsylvania Street. Reedus was slumped inside on the passenger seat.

As police processed that crime scene, Deputy Chief Larry McKinley and Cmdr. Sean Jones noticed a man who was not wearing a coat but appeared to be interested in the activity. He was arrested as a “person of interest,” Chief Wade Ingram said. The suspect was kicking his legs wildly after he was handcuffed as he struggled with police, who said he may have been on drugs.

King said investigators will not comment on whether Woods’ death is part of the same incident involving the van, but she said Detective Lorenzo Davis is in charge of both scenes.

Anyone with information about the shootings can call Davis at 881-4738.

Three hours earlier, a Black Oak man was killed in a home invasion that left one of the suspects critically wounded.

Eugene Jackson, a Glen Park resident, was killed Friday afternoon. A suspect was expected to be charged Monday.

The city has now recorded 52 homicides this year, nine more than the total for 2012.

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