- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

LAKE STATION, Ind. (AP) - An 84-year-old man armed with a shotgun was fatally shot by officers after he fired the weapon outside a northwestern Indiana city hall and aimed the weapon at them, police said.

The Lake County Coroner’s Office said the gunman, John Laco of Portage, was shot multiple times.

Laco fired one round from the shotgun about 10:30 a.m. CST, Lake County Major Crimes Task Force spokesman Bob Byrd told the Merrillville Post-Tribune and The (Munster) Times. Three Lake Station police officers arrived quickly at the parking lot outside the Lake Station City Hall, and the three shot at Laco when he pointed the shotgun in their direction, Byrd said.

It wasn’t immediately clear what prompted Laco’s actions.

Jesus Ruiz, a mechanic at the San Juan Tire Shop across from City Hall, told The Times said he was preparing for work when he heard what he thought was a tire bursting. About a dozen gunshots followed.

When he went outside, he saw smoke rising from near the entrance to City Hall and heard police yelling at a man to get on the ground, he said.

Tom Nikalaj of Joe’s Auto Sales nearby, said he heard police yelling at a man to get down before he heard 10 to 14 shots.

“It was like watching a movie,” Nikalaj said.

About 20 patrons and employees were inside the Lake Station-New Chicago branch of the Lake County Public Library at the time of the gunfire, said Carolyn Strickland, assistant director for the library system. The library sits just east of City Hall and the two buildings share a parking lot. Two windows and a door at the library branch were damaged in the gunfire, but no injuries were reported.

The branch was closed after the shooting, and people were allowed to leave the library following police interviews, Strickland said.

Byrd says about 20 detectives from departments around the region and Indiana State Police are investigating the shooting.

Lake Station lies about 5 miles southeast of Gary.

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Information from: The Times, https://www.thetimesonline.com


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