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Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force report

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Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force

PRESS RELEASE September 12, 2014

Major Crimes Completes Murder Investigation of Merrillville Police Officer Nickolaus Schultz The Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force has completed their investigation into the murder of Merrillville Police Officer Nickolaus Schultz. Officer Schultz died on Sunday (09-07-14) at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, IL, after being shot on Friday (09-05-14) at the Tempe Lake Condominiums in Merrillville, IN. Officer Schultz was investigating investigating a complaint that a previously evicted resident resident had illegally re-entered his former home and re-established residency. The investigation concludes that Michael Hrnciar, 33, of 8219 Lincoln Circle, Unit B, Merrillville, was evicted from his condominium after his financial institution foreclosed on his mortgage on July July 11, 2014. On several occasions in August, property management at the condominium complex had to change damaged door locks at Hrnciar’s former residence after discovering the locks had been tampered tampered with and the unit entered. entered. During that same same period, Hrnciar had been been seen multiple times by by residents at the the complex. As a result, property property management management asked that the police be called if Hrnciar was ever seen entering his former unit. At 10:45 PM on Friday (09-05-14), four Merrillville police officers responded to the Tempe Lake Condominiums after Hrnciar’s vehicl e was found parked outside of his former building and windows that were previously closed were discovered opened for ventilation. After the police tried multiple times to get Hrnciar to answer the door, on scene property managers authorized officers to force entry into the unit. With no electricity for lighting, police used their flashlights to systematically search the condo. Hrnciar, wearing police-style police-style body armor and lying lying in wait at the end of a hallway, hallway, ambushed the officers by firing two shots from a .45 caliber handgun down the hallway and into the living room. One bullet struck Officer Officer Schultz, another bullet entered a wall. Hrnciar then fired a third time which drew return gunfire gunfire from another Merrillville Merrillville police officer. That officer fired his weapon twice twice into the direction of where Hrnciar Hrnciar was located. located. The on-scene officers then held a strategic position and called for back-up assistance.

As Northwest Regional SWAT team members extracted Officer Schultz from the living room, other SWAT members advanced into the hallway to engage Hrnciar, only to find him dead on the hallway floor. The Lake County Coroner’s Office ruled that Hrnciar died from a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and that he had not been struck by any other gunfire. Toxicology reports are pending. The Lake County Sheriff’s Department Crime Lab determined that the gun used to kill Officer Schultz was the same gun Hrnciar took his life with. The third shot fired by Hrnciar was the self-inflicted round that killed him.

Hrnciar worked for ten years as a buyer at an Illinois chemical business and had no reported workplace problems. He reportedly purchased his Merrillville condominium and moved to Indiana from Illinois in 2006 so he could legally carry a handgun. At the time of the shooting, Hrnciar held a valid Indiana Handgun Permit that was issued to him in 2006, the same year he purchased the handgun that was used in Officer Schultz’s murder. Having financial problems, Hrnciar’s former employer said that he quit his job in January of 2013, to cash-out his company pension and use the money to pay down debt. Hrnciar was not married and had no children. His parents are divorced. He had no prior criminal arrests. Hrnciar had a fascination with commercial-grade fireworks and evidence recovered from his former residence indicated that he was illegally manufacturing explosives. The Porter County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad took custody of the explosives, while the Lake County Haz-Mat Team and an environmental clean-up contractor took custody of other flammable, highly toxic chemicals that posed a risk to residents. Those items were shipped to an out-ofstate EPA approved incinerator for disposal. In addition to facing potential felony Burglary charges for breaking into the condo, Hrnciar possessed a half-gallon jar of high-grade processed Marijuana, and an elaborate, nonfunctioning, Marijuana growing operation. The Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force is an investigative unit comprised of 60 detectives from 25 law enforcement agencies in Lake and Porter counties in Indiana. The following agencies assisted Major Crimes with the investigation: U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Lake County Sheriff’s Department Crime Lab, Lake County Coroner’s Office, Northwest Regional SWAT, Porter County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad, Merrillville Fire Department, Lake County Haz-Mat Unit and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. # END # CONTACT PERSON: Robert Byrd, Spokesperson Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force 219-898-0059 Cell

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