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Man who shot at police ONLY got 3 years in work release.


CROWN POINT — An East Chicago man was sentenced Tuesday to three years in a work-release program followed by probation for his role in a shootout that left one man dead and wounded him and three others.


Chauncey L. Hackett Jr., 28, admitted he shot at a Gary police officer Feb. 26, 2017, outside the Top Shelf nightclub at West 17th Avenue and Grant Street, records show. The police officer returned fire, striking Hackett in the neck, according to a plea agreement.


Hackett, who has a felony conviction from 2014, was found lying on top of his gun. Dvontai Wright, 25, of Griffith, was killed in the shootout at the club, which also has been known as Hustle and Joe's. Investigators recovered more than 80 spent shell casings from the scene, defense attorney John Cantrell said.


It could not be determined who shot Wright, but it was undisputed that Hackett was not legally entitled to possess a gun because he was a felon, Lake County Supervisory Deputy Prosecutor Michelle Jatkiewicz said.


A total of two Gary officers discharged their weapons, but neither of them was wounded, police said.

Cantrell asked Lake Criminal Judge Samuel Cappas to show his client leniency because Hackett's wounds were life-threatening and he's unlikely to come before the court again.


Two bullets remain lodged in Hackett's spine and could cause paralysis if Hackett "turns the wrong way," Cantrell said.

Hackett pleaded guilty in November to a level 3 felony count of attempted aggravated battery and a level 5 felony count of carrying a handgun without a license.


Jatkiewicz said Sgt. Tommie Tatum, the officer at whom Hackett shot, accepted the plea agreement largely because of Hackett's medical status.

"There is no doubt as (Hackett) sits here today he is a different man than he was when he was shooting at police," she said.



Cantrell downplayed Hackett's previous felony conviction for assisting a criminal in an East Chicago homicide case and said he lost Wright, his best friend, in the Gary shootout.A total of two Gary officers discharged their weapons, but neither of them was wounded, police said.

Cantrell asked Lake Criminal Judge Samuel Cappas to show his client leniency because Hackett's wounds were life-threatening and he's unlikely to come before the court again.


Two bullets remain lodged in Hackett's spine and could cause paralysis if Hackett "turns the wrong way," Cantrell said.

Hackett pleaded guilty in November to a level 3 felony count of attempted aggravated battery and a level 5 felony count of carrying a handgun without a license.


Jatkiewicz said Sgt. Tommie Tatum, the officer at whom Hackett shot, accepted the plea agreement largely because of Hackett's medical status.

"There is no doubt as (Hackett) sits here today he is a different man than he was when he was shooting at police," she said.


Cantrell downplayed Hackett's previous felony conviction for assisting a criminal in an East Chicago homicide case and said he lost Wright, his best friend, in the Gary shootout.


The doctors aren't going to remove the bullets in Hackett's spine, he said.


"Essentially, what he has is a life sentence," Cantrell said. Hackett initially declined to make a statement, but changed his mind after Cappas made a comment about remorse.


Cantrell said Hackett has been depressed about his medical status and the loss of Wright.

Hackett said he was celebrating his birthday the night of the shootout and didn't go to the bar looking for a fight.


"I didn't take a gun to the bar," he said. Cappas asked if the gun magically appeared in his hand. Hackett said it was "already on the ground."


Judge Cappas sentenced Hackett to nine years for aggravated battery and three years for the handgun count. He ordered Hackett be placed in the Lake County Community Corrections work-release program in Crown Point for three years, with an option for home detention at a later date. Hackett is to serve the remainder of his sentence on probation.

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