Black Main Street

Family Demands Answers In Shooting By Gary Police That Left Rashad Cunningham Dead

The family of a Black man who was shot and killed by a police officer in Gary, Indiana are demanding answers from the police department.

On Aug. 17, around 3:15 a.m., 25-year-old Rashad Cunningham, was shot and killed by police at East 23rd Avenue and Kentucky Street in Gary.

Police have said Cunningham was holding a gun when the shooting happened. His family has said he had a license to carry the gun.

The investigation in this shooting remains in progress. Cunningham’s friends and loved ones voiced their frustration at the Gary Police Department headquarters.

The group held signs and chanted “No justice, no peace,” on the steps of Gary City Hall until four police officers arrived and ordered them off the steps. Some of the protesters, including Jesse Cunningham, the father of Rashad, yelled back at police who stayed for a few minutes before heading back inside the building.

“We’re not getting nothing from the Gary Police Department. We’re not getting nothing, no answers, from Lake County!” said Tonia Simmons, Cunningham’s mother. “We want the recordings!”

“He had his whole life ahead of him!” said Cunningham’s girlfriend, Heather Fox. “He just was getting started!”

“No one showed me any compassion!” Simmons continued. “I want my son to get justice!”

“There’s so much anger,” she said. “We are broken! We are torn apart!”

Simmons disputed what little information her family has received about her son’s death. There are candles and a memorial now set up where the shooting took place.

On Saturday, Cunningham’s family displayed a picture of his Indiana handgun license. Family members have said Cunningham was within his Second Amendment rights to be carrying the gun.

Gary police said the Lake County Sheriff’s Department will be conducting the ongoing investigation. But the family wants more law enforcement eyes watching over it.

“The FBI was called,” Simmons said. “We want as much help as we can get!”

“We’re going to show up at the city! We’re going to show up at the City Council. We’re going to show up everywhere there is a politician – and we’re going to demand – we’re going to demand that everyone be held accountable,” a man at the protest.

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