Man charged with triple shooting in Hammond

FOX 32 NEWS / SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - A man has been charged with killing his ex-girlfriend and critically wounding her godson and goddaughter in a shooting Monday morning in northwest Indiana.

Joesph E. Barner, 32, faces one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated battery and two counts of battery by means of a deadly weapon, all felonies, according to an affidavit filed in the Superior Court of Lake County.

Officers responded about 6 a.m. Monday to a home in the 1300 block of Truman Street in Hammond and found three people shot lying in the living room, according to the affidavit.

Carmelle Erbie Cajuste, 44, was shot in the head and pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said. A 36-year-old woman was also shot in the head and a 27-year-old man was shot in the neck. Both were hospitalized in critical condition.

Barner and Cajuste had previously dated and lived together in an apartment in Lansing, according to the affidavit.

A domestic disturbance report involving Barner and Cajuste was filed at the Lansing Police Department on Oct. 13, 2016, according to the affidavit. They broke up, and Cajuste moved to the home in Hammond.

Barner told investigators that Cajuste was “doing drugs, sleeping with other men, spending all of the money he had made, and messing within at his apartment,” according to the affidavit. He further claimed she “would put spells on him and that after she made him food and he would eat it, he felt different.”

Barner told police he wanted to talk to Cajuste about money she owed him for bills and knew she would be leaving for work early in the morning, so he drove to the Hammond home, according to the affidavit. He bought the gun, which was reported stolen out of Lafeyette, Indiana, a few days before the shooting “because he felt unsafe.”

While talking to Cajuste and her goddaughter at the front door, Barner saw Cajuste’s godson approaching and fired shots, according to the affidavit.

The godson claimed he heard Barner yelling at Cajuste for leaving him and cheating on him, according to the affidavit.

Barner ran away from the scene and left his car parked nearby because he couldn’t find his keys, according to the affidavit. He called his mother, who picked him up in Calumet City and took him to her home in Lynwood.

Cajuste’s mother, who was home at the time of the shooting and called 911, also identified Barner as the suspect, according to the affidavit.

Barner was arrested at his mother’s home, according to the affidavit. The gun he used in the shooting was also recovered from the home.

Barner is being transferred to Cook County to face additional charges, according to Hammond Police Lt. Richard Hoyda.

At first, Monday morning was like any other day for most residents near Truman Street in Hammond, Indiana. 

"Me and my brother were drinking a cup of coffee about 5:45 in the morning and I let the dog out, come back in. And then we hear, 3, 4...4 or 5 gunshots,” said Cody Kotowski.

“We heard the gunshots, I looked at him and said there's no way those went up in the air because it sounded real close,” said Patrick Douglas-Duhoski.

Neighbors are in disbelief that something so violent happened so close.

"It's terrible, just terrible. I mean, it's not really something you hear, hear around here. This area is pretty quiet,” Douglas-Duhoski said.