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Man found shot to death at family meat business in Merrillville

The body Andrew Fugate Hobart was found cooler Piatak Meats his family's business Merrillville. |  Karen Caffarini/For Post-Tribune

The body of Andrew Fugate of Hobart was found in the cooler at Piatak Meats, his family's business in Merrillville. | Karen Caffarini/For the Post-Tribune

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Updated: November 5, 2013 12:12AM

MERRILLVILLE — A 27-year-old Hobart man was found shot to death in the cooler of Piatak Meats, his family’s business, on Monday morning.

Merrillville Police found the body of Andrew Fugate, of 1141 State St., Hobart, while responding to a 911 call. The call said the business was being burglarized, said Robert Byrd, spokesman for the Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force, which is assisting Merrillville police with the investigation.

Byrd said Fugate arrived at the business at 6200 Broadway shortly after 4 a.m. as usual to begin the daily food preparations. Another employee arrived at 7 a.m. and found Fugate’s body and evidence of a burglary and called police, Byrd said at a news conference Monday afternoon.

Byrd said nothing was taken from the business and the safe was secure. There was no forced entry, but there was physical evidence of an attempted burglary. He did not elaborate that evidence.

“Evidence was recovered at the scene involving the homicide,” he said.

Byrd said police picked up a few people for questioning and some were still being interviewed.

“There are no suspects in custody. We have no leads whatsoever at this time,” he said.

Piatak Meats was the scene of an attempted burglary in June, Byrd said, but the alarm went off and the burglars fled without taking anything.

Fugate’s parents declined to speak to reporters Monday afternoon, but Steven Fugate, Andrew’s father and part-owner of the store, said through a family member that he didn’t want activists to turn his son’s death into a cry for gun control.

Leonardo Roccaforte, part-owner of Piatak Meats with Steven Fugate, said Andrew Fugate had worked at the store for about 10 years.

“He was a very good employee, a very quiet guy,” Roccaforte said.

About 12 detectives are working the case, Byrd said.

Piatak Meats has been in business since 1910 and relocated to Merrillville in 1959, according to the store’s website.

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