Charges have been filed against three young men in connection with the murder of a father of four in northwest Indiana.
The victim was shot outside his Portage home when he confronted a group of men trying to break into his car.
Police say the victim, 36-year-old Alexius Tapia, was armed with a handgun. But so was one of the suspects, the fatal bullet hitting Tapia near the heart.
Tapia was a married father of four and his family is left reeling by his death.
“It’s just sad to lose your best friend. He really was my best friend, the only one who could be there for me,” said Priscilla Tapia, the victim’s daughter.
It happened in the pre-dawn darkness on this quiet Portage block. The three men, police say, broke into at least 10 vehicles in Tapia’s neighborhood. A barking dog awakened Tapia to the suspects in his driveway. The 36-year-old mechanic was a lover of cars.
“I guess he seen them, and he just wanted to scare them to get out. But they ended up shooting at him,” said Lupita Cruz, the victim’s sister.
Police say two of the suspects, Nathaniel Sipe and Korey Izynski, both 19, immediately fled, but Tapia managed to wrestle 18-year-old Thomas Reichler to the ground.