The Journal Gazette
Saturday, December 16, 2017 1:00 am

Homeless men's deaths reverberate

Homicide victim might have walked in on suicidal man

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

The streets are mourning the death of Joseph “Dreadlock Joe” Hurley, a gentle and kind man who was shot dead Tuesday in a vacant home on South Calhoun Street.

Hurley, 56, died from a gunshot wound to the chest after 9:30 a.m. when police got a call from the property owner that he'd heard some noise at his vacant property.

When police arrived at 2423 S. Calhoun St., they heard one gunshot and decided to send in a robot in case there was an armed, barricaded subject.

They found two men dead, both shot in the chest. Jim Seay, a public information spokesman for the Fort Wayne Police Department, said Hurley was killed by Roger Shubert, 57, who then turned the gun on himself.

Seay said police believe Shubert took his own life when he saw police gathering outside. That would explain the one gunshot police heard, he added.

The case is considered closed, according to Deputy Chief Garry Hamilton, who said police were told Shubert had mental issues.

Sally Becker Segerson, who runs Street Reach for the Homeless, knew both men. She said many people believe Hurley walked in on Shubert and tried to stop him from killing himself and was killed in the process.

It was unclear why the two were in the home, but Segerson said that when it gets cold, many homeless look for shelter, including in vacant homes and parking garages.

“If they find an abandoned building and they can get into it, they go into it,” Segerson said.

Segerson had not seen Hurley for a while, but that is common with people who are homeless on and off. One recent Facebook post said Hurley might have gone back to Chicago, but Segerson isn't sure where he was from.

On Shubert's Facebook page, personal information indicated he was a graduate of Wayne High School and had studied economics at IPFW. An attempt to reach his family was unsuccessful, but people were posting their condolences on the page.

Segerson said she had known Hurley for about six years; others told her they had known him for about a dozen.

“He was always so thankful anytime you gave him something, so appreciative, so kind,” Segerson said. “His laugh was infectious. His heart and compassion for others was without bounds, and a smile that beams whether the sun is out or not.”

One heartbroken man grieved on Segerson's Facebook page: “ oh my god not joe..why....lord help us all.”

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