By David Denson
A recent drive by shooting in Gary resulted in a west side day care center being the unintended victim.
According to Maceo Rainey, husband of the owner of Building with Care, a 24-hour childcare facility, on Thursday October 8, at around 7 p.m., he saw individuals driving down Harrison Blvd. exchanging gun fire.
“From what I observed on the camera footage is that two cars were engaged in lawlessness and just reckless behavior, flying up and down Harrison Street hanging out the window shooting at each other.”
During the time of the incident Rainey said students inside his facility were involved in the e-learning studies and getting ready for dinner. “It created a dangerous situation because the bullets shattered the glass and the material in the front door,” said Rainey.
On Monday, October 12, police and several community leaders visited the facility and saw the bullet holes in the front door. “The bullets that entered the door were just a snapshot from the future of Gary, and they have been traumatized by what happened to them,” Rainey added.
Gary Police Chief Brian Evans along with Deputy Chief Michael Jackson Sr. met with Rainey and community members and pledged to parents and the children that the police would work to ensure their safety.
Calling the shooting despicable, Evans said it was fortunate that no one was wounded. Evans believes the shooting stemmed from an altercation between two individuals and said police are viewing video from the shooting.
Evans also stated that the police will increase their patrolling of the area that used to be home to working families along with several educators who worked at Roosevelt High School.
Rainey said the visit by the police helped to allay the fears of the parents and the children. “They were able to share with the children their level of care and concern and support for their safety and wellbeing,” Rainey said the parents were startled and alarmed when they learned of the shooting. He said many of the children at the facility have parents who are working two and three jobs or multiple shifts at one job and depend on the service that the facility offers. “They depend on adequate childcare service.
“This is an episode of community violence and law breaking that should not be tolerated in the city of Gary and the citizens are tired of it,” said Rainey.
“This is a community issue that has spilled out to area business and is an issue dealing with law breaking that will not be tolerated” he said.
Mayor Jerome Prince said he is deeply disturbed and disgusted that cowards would endanger children with gunfire. He said public safety is his administration’s highest priority. He said the shooting is a priority issue and is urging the public to contact the Gary Police Department with information.
Referencing the upcoming election, Rainey is using the incident to lobby for increased voter participation. “We are going to take this to the ballot box on November 3,” said Rainey.
“We are going to vote for better schools, a safe community and economic development in Northwest Indiana,” he concluded.