Police identify victim of Deer Creeke shooting

Anthony Botello Perez of Elkhart was found dead with gunshot wounds in an apartment at Deer Creeke Apartments in Elkhart Sunday, March 30.

Posted on March 31, 2014 at 2:58 p.m.

ELKHART — Police confirmed 26-year-old Anthony Botello Perez of Elkhart was the person killed in a Sunday night shooting at Deer Creeke Apartments.

The Elkhart County Sheriff's Department, as well as the Elkhart Police Department and an ambulance, responded at about 10:46 p.m. Sunday, March 30 to 2801 Toledo Road on reports of a shooting.

According to a sheriff's department news release, Perez was dead when officers arrived at the scene. 

The Elkhart County Coroner's officer performed an autopsy Monday and found that Perez was killed by a gunshot wound. The death was ruled a homicide.

This is the second time police have investigated a shooting at Deer Creeke Apartments in the past year. Early on the morning of April 20, 2013, Matthew Bark, 24, died from a gunshot wound following an argument. His roommate, Terry Sheets, 27, was arrested that same day and later charged with murder. 

Sheets pleaded guilty in October to lesser charges of voluntary manslaughter and criminal recklessness, and was sentenced in December. 

Deer Creeke residents who spoke with Elkhart Truth reporters said they didn't hear shots fired Sunday night.

On Monday afternoon, as residents at Deer Creeke returned home from work, Ismael Salaices worked on his truck out on the parking lot.

Salaices said he didn't hear anything from the night before. When he got up to go to work in the early morning, he noticed police were outside his apartment building. As he left his apartment in the morning, a couple reporters approached him telling him about the shooting and asking if he'd heard anything.

Like Salaices, Carol Larsen said she didn't hear shots fired. But she said that shortly after police arrived, officers seemed to be searching the area with flashlights.

Two other neighbors, Michael Hart and Monica Bahena, said they heard a woman screaming and sobbing sometime after 11 p.m. That was the first time they had heard any sounds outside their apartment, but by then police were already at the scene.

Several neighbors recalled the shooting from April 2013, and reactions to the violent events in the last year were different among the residents.

"Since it's the second (homicide) in less than a year we've been thinking about moving" Hart said, adding that police are sometimes called to the complex to break up domestic fights. 

Other neighbors say the apartment complex is quiet most of the time.

"Up until now it had been calm here," Salaices said. "I'd imagine this person had his own problems he was dealing with."

Salaices said that although he didn't feel "100 percent safe," he also didn't think of Deer Creeke as a dangerous apartment complex. Someone once broke into his vehicle, he said, but "there there was nothing for them to take."

Salaices added that officers would sometimes drive through as part of their routine patrol and that he hasn't heard of any other crimes of violent nature in the area.

"I think that as long as you don't go looking for trouble, you'll be fine," he said.


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