A South Bend man who allegedly shot two people during a street fight and triggered a lockdown of a high school while SWAT units stormed his home surrendered to police Tuesday night.
Zachery Huenerkopf, 26, of the 100 block of East Bowman Street, turned himself in at the South Bend Police Department headquarters following a harrowing afternoon on Bowman Street in front of his home where he allegedly shot one man in the hip during an altercation while a second man took a bullet in the stomach.
Witnesses and police said Huenerkopf and the first victim were fighting “up and down” Bowman Street shortly after 2 p.m. when Huenerkopf allegedly took out a gun and fired.
The first victim, whose name was not released, was in “good condition” from a gunshot wound to his hip, police said.
The second victim, whose name was not released, is reportedly Huenerkopf’s 50-year-old uncle.
Police said it’s unclear whether the uncle was walking to his truck, which was parked on the street a few feet away, or trying to intervene in the altercation between his nephew and the other man.
He suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach and underwent surgery Tuesday afternoon at Memorial Hospital. After being listed in stable condition, the victim took a turn for the worse Tuesday night, police said.
“He has slid to critical condition,” said South Bend Police Department spokesman Capt. Phil Trent. “They thought they had him stabilized, but things took a bad turn,” Trent said, adding that it’s unclear whether two shots were fired, or whether one shot hit both victims.
Neighbor Jerry Mascorro, who serves as a property manager at the two-story home broken down into four apartments where Huenerkopf lives with his father and stepmother, said he heard one shot.
“I just walked out of my garage ... and I heard that pop,” Mascorro said.” Then I saw the guy who did the shooting take off running south on Michigan.”
Police arrived to a chaotic scene. Men and women flooded the street and crowded around the 50-year-old victim, who lay wounded by the curb. Women screamed. Someone took a photo with a cell phone camera.
The victim was conscious at the scene as paramedics removed his shirt and placed him onto a back board for transport to Memorial Hospital’s Trauma Unit.
Police set a perimeter that shut off northbound traffic along Michigan Street from Ewing Street to Calvert Street, and stretched to Riley High School, causing a lockdown at the school for nearly three hours.
Vera Baxter, the sister of the critical victim, raced to the scene from the Napa Auto Parts store on Michigan Street, where she works.
“I seen some blood on his belly,” she said of her 50-year-old brother, “but I don’t know if he got shot in the side or the back.”
Baxter said she did not know why anyone would shoot him.
“He’s lived (on Bowman Street) for 25 years,” she said. “He’s never really had a problem. Everybody likes him.”
Despite not knowing whether Huenerkopf had fled the scene or returned to the house, SWAT units took to the front porch and surrounded the building at about 4:15 p.m., attempting to make contact with the suspected shooter.
Shortly after 5 p.m., it was evident that Huenerkopf had fled the area. SWAT police peeled off their gear and returned to their base at the corner of Bowman and Michigan.
Police made contact with Huenerkopf later in the evening.
“Negotiators talked with him at length,” Trent said.
“They convinced him to come to the police station ... for everybody’s good.”
Staff writer Jeff Harrell
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