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Valpo man charged in shooting death

Abraham Bratcher Valparaiso is being held by Valparaiso Police connectiwith shooting Wednesday April 2 2014 Kouts man.

Abraham Bratcher, of Valparaiso, is being held by the Valparaiso Police in connection with the shooting Wednesday, April 2, 2014, of a Kouts man.

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State of Indiana vs. Abraham Bratcher
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Updated: April 4, 2014 10:54PM



VALPARAISO — A Valparaiso man has been charged with murder for shooting to death a friend early Wednesday at an apartment in the 3100 block of Black Partridge Lane, prosecutors said.

Abraham M. Bratcher, 34, killed Gerid Forste during a dispute over Forste allegedly stealing Bratcher’s cologne and a rifle that belonged to the tenant, who was allowing Bratcher to stay at the apartment, according to prosecutors. They said both men had used alcohol and marijuana prior to the shooting.

Police said neighbors heard a shot, then a pause and several more shots in succession about 4:30 a.m. Police were called and discovered the body of Forste, 31, of Kouts, lying on the living room floor with multiple gunshot wounds.

Bratcher told police that Forste’s girlfriend and children left the apartment about midnight, and he and Forste continued drinking and using marijuana. He said the men got into an argument over Forste stealing Bratcher’s cologne and the rifle, and Forste got the rifle, causing a struggle between the two that ended when the rifle fired accidentally.

Prosecutors said police found six spent rifle shells in the apartment, and Forste’s wounds indicated that he was facing away from Bratcher, had his hands up in a defensive posture and was shot at least once away from the area where Bratcher said they wrestled for the rifle.

Bratcher, a former Kouts resident, has been living in the apartment for two years, and the listed tenant was in California, authorities said.

Forste was awaiting trial for misdemeanor battery for allegedly punching a man three times in the head during a Feb. 16 fight and had previous convictions for battery, according to court records.



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