Man charged in Merrillville murder, robbery

A man wearing a hockey mask fatally shot a store clerk in Merrillville, Ind., during a robbery on Sunday March 4. Photo taken from surveillance video at Lucky Mart Foods.

March 7, 2012 3:21:57 PM PST
A 20-year-old man is charged in the murder of a store clerk during a robbery at the Lucky Foods in Merrillville, Ind.

Police say Jeremy Blue fatally shot Judi Simpson-Beaver, 48, on Sunday during a robbery. Surveillance video at the Lucky Mart Foods in Merrillville shows Beaver complying with the demands and the gunman by giving him two drawers of cash. He then shot her twice- once in the chest and again in the head.

"This was a heinous crime. She did everything, she complied. This was ruthless. There was no need for him to do this. She did everything he demanded," Merrillville Police Chief Jim Lilley said.

Blue wore a hockey mask and a hooded sweatshirt during the robbery, police said. A customer who was inside the store ran out when the suspect showed his gun. Police released surveillance video from the store and 9-1-1 calls for help.

Caller: "We need an ambulance at Lucky Foods at Cleveland and 57th. Someone just robbed the store and the woman inside is bleeding."

Caller: "She's been shot. He had a gun. I see a shell casing."

Dispatch: "Did he shoot her?"

Caller: "He did. Please hurry up, she's not going to make it."

"I can't even wrap my head around it. I mean he's a coward. To shoot an unarmed woman is beyond me and to take somebody who would never do anybody harm, it just doesn't make any sense. I don't get it," Zachary Beaver, victim's son, said.

Tips and witnesses led police to Blue. Officials now hope they'll lead to the arrest of the two other men believed to have been part of the crime: one man who came inside prior to the crime and another who stood at the door.

"We are still looking for the public's help for the other two individuals. We do have a couple persons of interest," Det. Joe Cooper, Merrillville Police Department, said.

"I know the Merrillville police are just overwhelmed with how many people are calling in and giving information and it's just touching to see that the community really cares and people are out there to help out," Zachary Beaver said.

Beaver had moved to Merrillville from Texas to help care for her grandson. Both of her sons served in the military; her youngest is on his way back from Afghanistan after learning of his mother's death.

Police are asking anyone with information to call the Merrillville Police Department at 219-769-3531.