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UPDATE: Girl killed at 'Sweet 16' party in Michigan City, suspect charged

July 25, 2011|By Stan Maddux, WSBT-TV Correspondent, with additional information from WSBT-TV

A 17-year old girl was shot and killed on Michigan City's east side late Sunday night, and now police say they have charged a suspect in the crime.

LaPorte County Deputy Coroner Mark Huffman said the victim's body was laying on the edge of the roadway on Liberty Trail close to Krueger Memorial Park, south of U.S. 12.

He said the discovery was made around 11:15 p.m. after emergency responders received a call of shots fired.

Friends of the victim identified her as Ne'Keisha Hodges Hawkins.

Brandy Aldridge, 17, said she went to Michigan City High School with Hawkins, who just graduated last month.

''She was a sweet girl. Quiet. Pretty,'' said Aldridge, who was standing in her driveway in the 800 block of Liberty Trail when shots rang out.

''I saw the fire from the gun and I just heard screaming,'' said Aldridge.

Aldridge’s great grandmother, 69-year-old Barbara Wilson, said she was lying in bed when she heard five shots.


''There was a ‘pop, pop, pop’ then a pause.  Then ‘pop, pop.’  I then heard all of the kids screaming, screaming, screaming,'' said Wilson, who added that it’s the first shooting to occur in her quiet neighborhood in the 39 years she has lived there.

Aldridge said there was a "Sweet 16" birthday party at the park. Police say when a fight began, it caused the party to end. The fight then continued in the parking lot where the shots were fired. Hawkins was killed and an 18-year-old male was shot in the leg.

The suspect ran from the scene before police arrived.

On Monday afternoon, police announced they had charged Cameron Omar Kent, an 18-year-old Michigan City resident, with reckless homicide, two counts of aggravated battery and one count of criminal recklessness. He is being held on a $25,000 bond.

Police say witnesses led them to Kent, and they recovered a gun among other evidence and established that he was present at the shooting.

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