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Police search for freed suspect in Gary murder

Mark Cherry

Mark Cherry

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Updated: June 8, 2014 6:24AM



GARY — A Lake Station man who was critically wounded during a home invasion late last year was released from an Illinois hospital despite a murder charge against him, authorities said.

The U.S. Marshal’s Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Team, the Region Stop Team and area police are on the lookout for Mark Cherry, 21, Gary police spokeswoman Cpl. Gabrielle King said.

Cherry was charged with murder in late December while hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill.

Police said Cherry was shot during a struggle with two brothers for control of a gun during a home invasion Dec. 1 in the 6200 block of West 29th Avenue in Gary’s Black Oak section.

Cherry and two other men went to the house looking for marijuana and forced their way in, according to police.

They said two men who were in the house, brothers Elias Martinez, 24, and Anthony Martinez, 23, were wounded in the struggle with Cherry, and Roland Correa, 22, was shot to death. The other two intruders remain at large, police said.

Cherry, who has a recent conviction for robbery, was not held under police guard at the Oak Lawn hospital. King said Gary officers do not typically guard prisoners in other states where they have no jurisdiction and usually ask hospital officials to notify them when the patient is scheduled for release.

Oak Lawn Police Division Chief Michael Kaufmann said Tuesday that it’s the responsibility of the law enforcement agency in charge of a case to keep track of a suspect or to alert local police and seek assistance. There’s no way Oak Lawn police can be expected to keep track of a patient “unless they told us about him,” and they did not, he said.

Gary police also could have contacted Cook County sheriff’s police to alert them of Cherry’s status at the hospital, Kaufmann said.

“Whether that was done, I don’t know. That’s a question for Gary,” he said.

Christ spokesman Mike Maggio said in a statement that the medical center “cannot legally detain a patient against his or her will. Without prior written consent from a patient, the hospital cannot alert another person or agency about a patient’s pending discharge.”

He said a suspect or defendant in a serious crime is typically guarded by police officer while in the hospital, so “at the time of discharge, the patient can be taken immediately into custody by police.”

Contributing: Steve Metsch



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