Merrillville police investigate body found in freezer - New York News

Merrillville police investigate body found in freezer

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MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A 27-year-old Hobart man was found shot to death Monday morning in the cooler of Piatak Meats, his family's northwest Indiana business.

Merrillville police found the body of Andrew Fugate, of 1141 State St,. Hobart, while responding to a 911 call stating the business was being burglarized, said Robert Byrd, spokesman for the Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force, which is assisting Merrillville police with the investigation.

Byrd said Fugate arrived at the business at 6200 Broadway shortly after 4 a.m. as usual to begin the daily food preparations. Another employee arrived at 7 a.m. and found Fugate's body and evidence of a burglary and called police, Byrd said at an afternoon press conference.

Byrd said nothing was taken from the business and the safe was secure. There was no forced entry into the business, but there was physical evidence of an attempted burglary. He did not elaborate on what that evidence was.

"Evidence was recovered at the scene involving the homicide," he said.

Byrd said police picked up a few people for questioning and some are still in the process of being interviewed.

"There are no suspects in custody. We have no leads whatsoever at this time." he said.

Piatak Meats was the scene of an attempted burglary in June, Byrd said, but the alarm went off and the burglars fled without taking anything. He said there was forced entry in June, but not this morning.

Fugate's parents declined to speak to the press when approached Monday afternoon, but Steven Fugate, Andrew's father and part-owner of the store, said through a family member that he didn't want activists to turn his son's death into a cry for gun control.

Leonardo Roccaforte, part-owner of Piatak Meats with Steven Fugate, said Andrew Fugate had worked at the store about 10 years.

"He was a very good employee, a very quiet guy," Roccaforte said.

Police are asking anyone with any information regarding the homicide to call Merrillville Police detective bureau commander Robert Wiley at 769-3531.

About 12 detectives are working the case, Byrd said.

Piatak Meats has been in business since 1910 and relocated to Merrillville in 1959, according to the store's web site.

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