A rash of seven shotgun killings is scaring people into carrying guns or staying indoors at night as police try to nab the killer before another attack.
Gun sales are skyrocketing in the largely blue-collar area of northwest Indiana after the slayings within a 20-mile radius since late October.At Jack's Gun Shop in Burns Harbor sales of firearms and ammunition have jumped fivefold since last week, owner Jack Batz said Thursday.
The latest victims were brothers Ilija "Eli" Balovski and George Baloski, who were killed with shotgun blasts to the head in their Gary tailor shop Tuesday. The store is down the street from a pawn shop where owner Robert Ribicki has armed himself.
"Life's too damn precious for this kind of junk," said Ribicki, who carried a .38 Colt revolver strapped at his waist just under his jacket. "I just hope they catch this guy. I don't care if they blow him away."
Police believe the killings were carried out by the same gunman. They were looking for a man described as white and between 20 and 35 years old, Portage police Sgt. Warren E. Lewis said.
"We have evidence to tie all the shootings together. We have several suspects at this time," Lewis said.
He declined to discuss the evidence, but sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said shell casings from the latest killings match those from earlier slayings.