Coroner: 88-year-old man died from gunshot wound

(WTHR photo Ryan Thedwall)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — The Marion County Coroner's office say an 88-year-old man found dead in his home died from a gun shot wound to the chest.

Police identified the victim as 88-year-old Carl Petroff.

Police say Petroff was found dead in his home in the 2500 block of Union Street.

Police say the victim appeared to be suffering from some type of trauma. Homicide detectives are now investigating the case.

"That poor old man," said Debra Baker, choking up on the porch of her home. The victim, who police described as elderly, lived across the street. Investigators say a friend found him unconscious in the home on Tuesday. He was pronounced dead when emergency crews arrived.

Baker was at work when her roommate called to say police were down the street.

"We thought he just passed away, but he said, 'no, there's something big because too many cops are down there,'" Baker said.

Residents watched as police tape went up around the house.

"We knew then surely something has happened," said neighbor Connie McLaughlin.

That something, police believe, was homicide.

"They detected an apparent trauma to the body that leads police to investigate this was a homicide as of right now," said IMPD Officer Genae Cook.

Baker can't figure out who would want to hurt her neighbor or why. "I'm so sad, I'm just sad. You live there all your life and to go like that, that's terrible," she said.

Police say they're talking to the last people to see the victim. He lived alone in his house.

According to investigators, a caregiver had been visiting him. Neighbors say he had been ill, but had recently seemed to turn a corner. They say they were seeing him more often, sitting outside his home.

"He was a sweet man, just really starting to get back up on his feet from not feeling really well," said McLaughlin.

"He used to sit out back and as I drove by, he'd always wave," Baker added.

Neighbors say they're going to miss seeing him. They want to know who's responsible.

"My heart is a little scared because we don't know who did it and we're old too," said Baker. "I hope they catch 'em. I hope they catch 'em."

The coroner has not determined a cause of death. Police are looking for answers and hope neighbors will call them if they remember seeing or hearing anything suspicious over the past few days.

Neighbors call it a usually quiet neighborhood, although they admit they've been concerned about the number of people they see going in and out of some of the houses lately and at different hours.

"It's slowly gravitating toward the worst," said Baker.

Anyone with information about the investigation is asked to called Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.

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