Bullet strikes driver, 70, in face as shots fired in 200 block of I Street; shooter in custody


Press release from La Porte Police Department

“On 11/21/19 at approximately 2:41 p.m., officers from the La Porte Police Department were dispatched to the 200 block of I Street for reports of several shots being fired. Officers discovered a residence in the 200 block of I Street, as well as several cars passing through the area, had been struck by gunfire. Officers also received information that a man was at La Porte Hospital and reported he was struck in the face by a stray bullet while traveling down I Street.

“Officers closed down the section of roadway for safety as officers canvassed the neighboring homes to ensure no one else was injured. Chief Julie Smith also notified La Porte Community Schools Superintendent Mark Francesconi due to the incident’s proximity to La Porte High School.

“After gathering information and evidence from the area, officers were able to determine the origin of the shots. Officers secured the suspect’s home and took the suspect, Joseph Ukonga, 28, of La Porte, into custody. Detectives from the La Porte Police Department secured the suspect’s gun, along with some drug paraphernalia and possible drugs.

“The man who was struck in the face by a stray bullet was treated at La Porte Hospital and then transported to South Bend for what appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries. The innocent 70-year-old male was not the intended target, and at this time appeared to be simply traveling down I Street. The victim’s name is not being released to make sure family is notified.

“Through the investigation it appears that this stemmed from a possible road rage incident that occurred in the Koomler Park area involving a small Jeep SUV and possibly a black or dark colored Ford car. If anyone has any information regarding this incident, please contact Detective Corporal Metcalf or Chief of Detectives Sergeant Ferguson at (219) 362-9446.

“La Porte Police Chief Julie Smith is appreciative of the department’s personnel, and for the assistance made available by La Porte County Sheriff John Boyd and his department’s Emergency Response Team, who also responded to the scene. Chief Smith states, ‘I’m very proud of the teamwork, dedication and professionalism displayed by both our personnel and the county sheriff’s office personnel in responding to this event. We had several off-duty officers who came in and quickly responded to help with the scene, and also responded to other calls-for-service throughout the city which continue to come in during incidents like this. I’m proud to serve with these men and women, and our community is blessed to have them. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim who was struck by a stray bullet. I know this had to be a very frightening experience for him, as well as for several other people whose vehicles were struck while they were driving.’
The La Porte Police Department would like to thank the La Porte County Sheriff’s Department and La Porte County E911 for their assistance, as well as the citizens of La Porte for their patience as police work difficult scenes and cases like this.”

7 Responses to “Bullet strikes driver, 70, in face as shots fired in 200 block of I Street; shooter in custody”

  1. John

    Nov 22. 2019

    How utterly and absolutely AWFUL. What is this, Chicago now??

    Reply to this comment
  2. Deb

    Nov 23. 2019

    Road Rage ? Has to be a lot more anger than just how someone is driving . Seriously ! What has happened to being civil . You don’t shoot people for bad driving ! The world and people are starting to really suck !

    Reply to this comment
  3. oldeskule

    Nov 23. 2019

    and how long before he is placed on GPS monitor or placed into work release because he is a good young man who did something stupid?

    Reply to this comment
  4. Inquiring Mind

    Nov 23. 2019

    This occurred about the same time as the area schools dismiss for the day. I’m told the high school took no action. I’m curious to know if that is true and if so, why not?

    Reply to this comment
  5. Kathy

    Nov 23. 2019

    These punks are wild and out of control and an innocent man was shot in the face So thankful to know he will be alright ,this has to stop.

    Reply to this comment
  6. lawman

    Nov 23. 2019

    as ”oldskule” eluded to this guy will get a wrist slap. he probably has rap sheet a mile long. you gotta love it when these guys are out on bail and STILL committing crimes

    Reply to this comment
  7. Oldeskule

    Dec 10. 2019

    and now there is a go fund me page for with POS.. He has been given chance after chance. If a judge lets him out on bond, the judge needs to be replaced.

    Reply to this comment

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