Latest shooting victim paralyzed from the chest down

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- New information has been released about the shooting that happened off of Lincolnway West in South Bend on Friday night around 9 p.m.

Police have identified the victim as 20-year-old Markeese Hunter of South Bend.

Police and Markeese's family tell ABC 57 News it is unlikely he will ever walk again. Doctors tell them he is paralyzed from the chest down.

His former football coach along with his father are both speaking out in hopes someone will learn from the mistakes they say this young man has made in life.

South Bend Police officer Derek Dieter said on Friday night he was working security at the Cove when his wife, who is also a South Bend Police officer, called him and told him one of his former football players was shot and was on his way to the hospital via ambulance.

Dieter used to coach football for South Bend's John Adams.

He said, "I saw him the other night laying on his back with a bunch of tubes and a neck brace on paralyzed."

Dieter said he coached Markeese Hunter his freshman year and he is one of those stand out athletes he'll never forget.

"He was a phenomenal football player, " said Dieter.

Police officers tell ABC 57 News they first were called to the intersection of Lincolnway West and Sherman Avenue around 9 p.m. where they believed Hunter was shot. However when EMS crews pulled up Hunter was long gone.

A few minutes later around 9:15 p.m. about 1.7 miles away neighbors on Fremont Street found Hunter in an alley suffering from a gunshot wound to his shoulder.

Police officers who worked the scene told ABC 57 that they believe Hunter's friends dropped him off in the alley after he told them he couldn't feel his legs and couldn't walk.

Dieter said when he got to the hospital on Friday his former player wasn't looking too good.

"He's in bad shape. He asked me if he was going to die and I told him I didn't know, you may," Dieter said.

ABC 57 News spoke to Markeese Hunter's father Maurice Hunter. He told us that Markeese's mom died of cancer when he was 13 year-old. He said that's when Markeese began his own personal struggle in life.

Maurice said he moved his two sons to Indianapolis where he found a better job and he thought his sons would have a better life. He said Markeese had the opportunity to play football for Warren Central, but he blew it by getting in trouble at school and having poor grades.

He said Markeese ran away and came right back to the streets of South Bend. He said he ended up behind bars. Court records in St. Joseph County show in February of 2011 he was charged with residential entry and resisting law enforcement, both felonies.

His dad said he was released from jail about 4 months ago.

Dieter said, "Where he is now he chose another path and it's unfortunate for him but he's going to have to deal with that."

Maurice over the phone said, "From what the doctor told me he don't think my son will ever walk again, and it hurts me to the core to know my son will never walk again. It hurts my heart to know there ain't nothing I can do about it, I've done all that I can do and that all that I was supposed to do."

Local pastors in the area are hoping this story touches one young person and encourages them to turn away from the streets before it's too late.

Brother Monte McGill of the Greater Mt. Calvary Baptist Church which is located on the same block as where the shooting occurred said, "We just need to sit down with our young men and women and let them know that there's a better life especially in Christ Jesus."

There has been a string of shootings within a mile or so stretch off of Lincolnway West over the past couple of weeks- two of those shootings were deadly.

Assistant Commander David Wells of the Metro Homicide Unit says they are not investigating this most recent case as a connection to the others. However, nothing has been ruled out.

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