Valparaiso man held in shooting death of Kouts man, 31
By Teresa Auch Schultz email@example.com April 2, 2014 9:38AM
Authorities on the scene Wednesday, April 2, 2014, outside an apartment building in the 3100 block of Black Partridge in Valparaiso where a man was found shot to death in his unit. | Teresa Auch Schultz~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 5, 2014 8:16AM
An early morning argument turned lethal after a Valparaiso man shot a Kouts man multiple times, according to officials.
Valparaiso Police Chief Michael Brickner said that Gerid W. Forste, 31, and the suspected shooter, who The Post-Tribune is not yet naming because he has not been formally charged, were at the suspect’s apartment at 1305 Black Partridge Lane, Apt. 1, around 4:55 a.m. Wednesday when the two men got into an argument.
The suspect then shot Forste multiple times with an AR-15 rifle, Brickner said Wednesday afternoon.
The suspect called police, who arrived two minutes later. They found Forste dead and the suspect at the apartment, Brickner said.
“He did not flee,” Brickner said of the suspect.
Brickner said that the suspect has told police he shot Forste, although the chief did not elaborate on the motive or what caused the dispute.
The suspect is being held in the Porter County Jail pending charges, which the chief said he expects are coming soon.
Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said Wednesday afternoon that Forste had been hit multiple times and that an autopsy is scheduled for Thursday in Mishawaka.
His office was notified about the shooting just after it happened, he said, but was not called out to take over the body until just before noon.
Brickner said police are still investigating the case and processing the scene and any possible charges will depend on their work with the Porter County Prosecutor’s office.
Brickner did not say what, if any, relationship the two men had.
Both have a history of arrests and convictions. The suspect most recently pleaded guilty in 2012 to a Class D felony theft count, which he was sentenced to 18 months in prison, although all but 60 days were suspended. His probation was revoked in May, however, and he was then sentenced to a 90-day stint in the Porter County Jail.
He has also pleaded guilty in a few other cases, including to counts of possessing marijuana and residential entry, both also Class D felonies.
Forste was most recently arrested in February on a charge of battery resulting in bodily injury, a Class A misdemeanor. He was released from the Indiana Department of Corrections in January 2013 after serving time on counts of escape, a Class C felony, and battery, a Class A misdemeanor. He’s also served time on a battery count and been arrested several times for various driving issues, including operating while intoxicated.
Neighbors gave mixed reactions to the shooting.
One woman, who did not wish to identify herself, said her daughter lives in the back of the apartment building. The daughter was awoken around 5 a.m. by someone buzzing her door, the woman said, but she didn’t hear anything else.
The woman said she wasn’t too concerned for her daughter because police had told them they already had the person responsible and that it was a domestic situation.
She said she also liked that the apartment building’s front door is kept locked which is partly why they chose the location.
“I think she’s in a really safe area,” the woman said.
However, another neighbor, who also did not want to identify himself, said he’s concerned by the shooting, especially as he just moved in a couple months ago.
“I want to know what this means for my lease,” he said. “...It seemed like a nice little area.”
The man said he tried to leave for work just before 6 a.m. But couldn’t because police cars were blocking him in. It wasn’t until he finally did get to work that he realized what happened, the man said.