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NWI Times: Judge lowers bond for man charged in Walmart shooting after seeing ballistics analysis

CROWN POINT — A judge reduced bond Friday for a man accused in the Hobart Walmart shooting after learning ballistics analysis showed a bullet recovered from a boy’s body was not fired from a gun the man claims to have used.

Alex C. Hughes, 26, must wear a GPS ankle monitor if his family is able to post a $100,000 surety bond or $10,000 cash bail, Lake Criminal Court Judge Salvador Vasquez said.

Vasquez reduced Hughes’ bond from $200,000 to $100,000 after watching video of the shooting earlier this month and hearing Friday about ballistics evidence in the case.

Hughes’ attorney, Russell Brown Jr., had requested Hughes’ bond be lowered to $6,000 cash.

Vasquez said the case was “very disturbing.” He ordered Hughes, if released, to pay costs associated with the ankle monitor and warned Hughes he would be arrested if there is any sign of tampering with the monitor.

Brown immediately moved to dismiss an attempted murder count against Hughes involving the 9-year-old shooting victim. 
Vasquez said, “I won’t do it.” 

The judge told Brown to submit the motion in writing, so the state has an opportunity to respond.
“We will have a hearing,” Vasquez said, adding it could be held March 22 during Hughes’ next court date.

Ballistics analysis showed the bullet that wounded the 9-year-old was fired from a .40-caliber gun, Brown said. That is the same caliber of gun police recovered at the scene from a friend of the boy’s father, he said.

An off-duty Gary police officer disarmed the friend after the friend and the boy’s father fled inside the Walmart following the shooting in the parking lot, court records say. The boy’s father also was wounded in the shooting.

Michael Toth, a supervisory prosecutor for Lake County, said other bullet casings found at the scene were fired from a 9mm gun. That is the caliber of the gun Hughes’ attorney turned over to the Lake County prosecutor’s office some time after the shooting, he said.

Toth said he’s not certain the gun Brown turned over to him was the gun used in the shooting, partly because Brown won’t tell him who brought the gun to Brown’s office.

Toth said surveillance video showed Hughes was the only person shooting as he followed the boy’s father toward the Walmart entrance.

Toth objected to a bond reduction, arguing Hughes was a danger to the community because Hughes is “a known gang member” and the shooting was “gang violence that spilled over into Hobart.”

Hughes shot out a window to a Burger King as he fired multiple times into the front of the Walmart, Toth said.

Toth also said Hughes is a flight risk and requested GPS monitoring as a condition of release.

No bond had been posted for Hughes as of Friday afternoon, online records showed.


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