MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (WLS) -- A Merrillville handyman was robbed, then shot and killed as he was getting into his van Wednesday morning to drive to work, police said.
Police said Cecil Pendleton, 55, was pursued by several people who were breaking into cars at the Tan Tar apartment complex. He was engaged to be married on June 27, his fiancee's birthday.
"He was just everything to my family and just to have somebody do this, is senseless," said Kandace Muhamad, whose mother was engaged to Pendleton.
Pendleton - who had been a stepfather for the last 10 years - cried out for help as police say he was shot by robbers around 5 a.m.
"When you hear someone yelling for help, you help," Muhamad said.
Police said they found him wounded in his van. He was taken to nearby Methodist Hospital - Southlake Campus, where he died.
"I think he was just at the wrong place at the wrong time," said Chief Joseph Petruch, Merrillville Police Dept.
Pendleton also leaves behind three children from another family.
"He was such a jovial person, he was always upbeat. He was motivating, he was uplifting," Muhamad said.
Police said the suspects were seen running away from the apartment complex.
The Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force is investigating.
Anyone with information is asked to submit tips anonymously through the NWI Major Crimes website.
Man killed by robbers outside Merrillville apartment complex, police say