Responding officers tell jury about scene of triple homicide in Gary
By Ruth Ann Krause Post-Tribune correspondent January 9, 2013 6:26PM
Kevin Isom. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 11, 2013 7:29AM
Jurors in the capital murder trial of a Gary man charged in a triple homicide heard a series of Gary police officers describe events as they unfolded — gunfire within the building, the rescue of a man and his grandchildren and shots fired toward arriving officers.
The testimony came during the third day of the trial of Kevin Charles Isom, 47, who is charged with murder in the shooting deaths of his wife, Cassandra Isom, 40, and stepchildren Michael Moore, 16, and Ci’Andria Cole, 13. Isom also is charged with three counts of attempted murder involving Gary police officers.
Gary police Sgt. Tom Decanter Jr. was dispatched to 5807 Hemlock Ave. in the Lake Shore Dunes apartment complex to check on a report of gunfire at 10:22 p.m. Aug. 6, 2007. Seeing no one in the area and hearing no shots fired, Decanter cleared the call, then learned from the police dispatcher that shots were being fired inside a first-floor apartment. Decanter said he returned to the building, where an older man stood at the entrance waving his arms. As he walked to the door, Decanter said he heard a shot fired. Additional shots came as another officer, Jay Johnson, arrived while Decanter spoke with the man, Eddie Green.
As he, Johnson, Green and Green’s three grandchildren quickly ran from Green’s basement-level apartment toward the west side of the building, Decanter said he heard another loud gunshot and could smell burnt gunpowder. Eventually a SWAT officer came from the north to help move the family to a safer location.
Decanter and the other officers took positions around the building to establish a perimeter, which they said they maintained until relieved by SWAT officers.
Questioned by deputy prosecutor David Urbanski, who is presenting evidence with deputy prosecutor Michelle Jatkiewicz, Decanter, Johnson, Cpl. Michael Clark and Patrolman Derrick Cannon all said they never saw anyone leave the building as they arrived.
Defense attorney Herbert Shaps told jurors in his opening statement that someone knocked Isom unconscious and killed his family. Isom has no memory of the incident, Shaps said.
Cannon said when he pulled up on Hemlock Avenue, he got his 12-gauge shotgun from his trunk and took a position at the southeast corner of the building. As he watched the front entrance, Cannon said he heard several gunshots from the first-floor apartment and saw the muzzle flash of a shotgun directed across Hemlock Avenue where several officers were standing near a row of parked cars. Cannon also said he heard more than two shots coming from inside the first-floor apartment.
Clark said he heard a shotgun blast from the northeast corner of the building. Next came what sounded like two shots from a handgun, followed by the sounds of bullets ricocheting off a car, Clark said. Additional shots rang out from the south side of the building, he said.
The trial before Lake Superior Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. is expected to resume Thursday morning.