Boy, 16, Shot Dead in Front of Father While Trying to Sell Xbox, Suspects on the Run

June 13, 2019 Updated: June 14, 2019

A teenage boy was shot dead in front of his father while trying to sell his Xbox in northwest Indiana.

Two suspects are on the loose, according to local authorities.

Johnny Peluverya, 16, of Merrillville, had come to the city of Gary with his father on June 12. They had arranged through an online sales platform to sell an Xbox game console to a buyer, according to the police and Lake County coroner’s office.

During the meeting, Johnny’s father sensed that something was not right.

The two men had asked Johnny if they could test the Xbox by using electrical outlets on the outside of two separate homes, according to nwitimes.com. Not long after, a silver handgun was pulled out, Gary police Commander Jack Hamady told the outlet.

The father had spotted the gun and tried to warn his son.

The 16-year-old was shot in the back as he tried to flee to the car, according to WGN9. He was carrying the Xbox at the time.

The teen was able to make it into his father’s car and his father drove a short distance to 51st Avenue and Maryland Street.

There, his father called 911 around 6:05 p.m., a statement from Gary police said.

Johnny was pronounced dead at the scene around 6:47 p.m. by the Lake County coroner, according to nwitimes.com. The coroner’s office concluded that the boy had died from the gunshot wound and his death was ruled as a homicide.

The two suspects are believed to be from the area. They are described as men of African American appearance in their late teens to early 20s.

One wore a black hoodie and the other wore a gray hoodie. Both were wearing basketball shorts according to police.

Police are reminding the public to select safe places to meet strangers, such as police department parking lots, when arranging to sell or buy items through online platforms, WGN9 reported.

“The Gary Police Department does not encourage buyers and sellers of these online apps meeting at unknown locations,” Hamady said in a release issued June 13, sighted by nwitimes.com.

“If you are going to make a transaction with an individual online, you should choose a police station parking lot or a public place.”

Police are searching for any surveillance footage that may have caught the suspects on camera.

“The two suspects had to be from the neighborhood,” Hamady said. “They lured [Peluyera] into the area. Someone has to know these guys. In the case of the last teen who was shot, an anonymous tip helped us find the suspect. We are hoping someone will come forward with information this time, too.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the police. They can request to speak to Detective Mike Equihua of the Lake/Gary Metro Homicide Unit at 219-755-3852, or the crime tip line at 866-274-6347.

According to a news report by madison.com, released in April, the city of Gary in Indiana has the third-highest murder rate in the United States, based on data from 2015 to 2016.

The FBI said in February that that crime in the country has declined in the first half of 2018 compared to 2017. The figures were compiled from more than 13,000 law enforcement agencies around the United States that submitted their crime data to the FBI.

Robbery offenses decreased 12.5 percent, murder and nonnegligent manslaughter offenses decreased 6.7 percent, and aggravated assault offenses declined 2 percent, the agency said. Rapes, however, increased by 0.6 percent.

The full 2018 crime report will be released later this year in 2019.

Follow Mimi on Twitter: @MimiNguyenLy
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