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Violent weekend leaves three dead in Gary

Updated: July 8, 2013 9:17PM



GARY — Andrew Wilkins was “just a normal guy” with no past history that investigators believe would have led to his violent end early Sunday, police said Monday.

Wilkins, 57, who lived in an apartment building at 5175 Georgia St., was found shot to death in the middle of the intersection of Georgia Street and 51st Place, just steps from his home about 2:30 a.m.

He is the third homicide victim in three days, bringing the city’s total count to 25 this year, an increase of 51 percent over the same time last year. By July 7 in 2012, there had been 16 homicides.

Chief Wade Ingram was unavailable Monday to comment on the dramatic rise in violent deaths. Police spokeswoman Cpl. Gabrielle King said Ingram would respond to questions posed by the Post-Tribune on Tuesday.

Police had received reports about several gunshots in that area of Glen Park. As Cpl. Stephen Otten and Patrolman April Brown searched the area for the source of the gunfire at 49th Avenue and Georgia Street, they saw a body lying in the roadway to the south.

Wilkins was pronounced dead at the scene. He had no immediate family in the area, so his identity was not released until Monday. Wilkins worked as a handyman and was active in an area church, police said. He did not have any association with crime or criminals that police could learn and investigators say they don’t know what the motive would be for killing Wilkins. “It was not a robbery,” Detective Cpl. James Nielsen said.

Early Friday morning, a Glen Park resident stepped outside her house and saw Bryan Cooke, 46, dead in the street near 51st Avenue and Pennsylvania Street.

Cooke was staying at his girlfriend’s house in that area and had walked to the store late on Thursday.

Cpl. Michael Barnes said that, like Wilkins, Cooke had no criminal record and no indication he was involved in activity involving violent crime.

On Saturday, Antoine Taylor, 19, was shot in the chest near 5th Avenue and Delaware Street and died at 5:30 a.m. at the hospital. Police recovered a weapon at the scene, but decline to comment on the investigation until other witnesses are located. Detective Cpl. Edward Gonzalez is investigating Taylor’s homicide.

Violent Crimes Unit detectives can be reached at 881-1210.



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