GARY, Ind. (WLS) -- Gary is mourning the loss of a businessman and community member who was found shot to death early Friday.
Norman Bailey helped keep Gary running. It was his home, his place of work, and the city's affairs were his passion. His colleagues said he loved it there.
"His fingerprints are all over our community and it is such a loss for us all," said Akilia McCain, who served with Bailey on the Gary community school advisory board.
Gary police said Bailey was shot and killed inside the Blue Room Lounge, one of three businesses he owns, around 2:30 a.m. Friday.
"This wasn't supposed to happen at all," bar patron Carey Crawford said. "For somebody to walk in and do this when it's time to go with everybody leaving... it's unreal. Unreal. Can't believe this."
Police spent hours sorting through the crime scene in the 200 block of E. 16th Avenue, where they say at least one other person was shot.
"This is like home away from home for a lot of the local people that are around here," Crawford said. "This is just like, it hurts. It really do hurt."
The secretary of the Gary community school advisory board, Bailey was fighting to keep community schools under the elected board's control. His seat is going to be hard to fill.
"Councilman called me about 5 this morning and asked me had I heard. I said, 'no, heard what?'" said Robert L. Buggs, president of Gary Community School Corporation Advisory Board. "He said that Norman got killed."
The loss is personal for the people who patronized his businesses, and the friends he worked alongside to help his community.
"Norman and I were closer than brothers," Buggs said. "Wherever you saw Norm, you saw me. I put on Facebook, 'wherever there was injustice you would see just us.' That's how close we were."
"They have lost a leader," Crawford said. "Someone that truly cares about improving his community and especially about children's education."
The mayor has said Gary police will use every tool available to them to bring the person responsible for killing Bailey to justice. But his death leaves this community at a loss over a business owner and someone passionate about standing up for children's education.
STATEMENT FROM GARY COMMUNITY SCHOOL CORPORATION
We, at the Gary Community School Corporation, were both shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of advisory board member Norman Bailey. His passion for youth and love for community were signature traits of his character. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all of those whose lives he touched.
STATEMENT FROM GARY MAYOR JEROME A. PRINCE
On behalf of my family and the City of Gary, I extend our deepest condolences and prayers for peace and comfort to the family and friends of Norman Bailey, who was tragically and senselessly taken from [us] early this morning.
Our Gary Police Department will use every tool available to bring the person or people responsible for this heinous act to justice.
For many years, Mr. Bailey has been a highly respected and well liked businessman and community member. In business, he was a hands-on leader who showed the best our Gary community has to offer. As a public servant, including his time on the Gary Community School Corp. Advisory Board, Mr. Bailey showed his heart and love for his neighbors and the children throughout our City.
And, on a personal level, I always looked forward to his warm smile and his insightful recommendations on how to make our community a better place.
We all will miss him, but I know we'll always be grateful to have made fond memories with Mr. Bailey.
Gary businessman and school board member found shot, killed inside bar he owned
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