Family mourns death of Southport shooting victim

John Yingling

Relatives of a man shot and killed in Southport Wednesday are still trying to make sense of the crime.

John Yingling, 38, was shot when he pulled out of his driveway Wednesday morning. His brother-in-law, Brian Hatfield, can't understand why anyone would do him harm.

"Out of everybody I know, I mean everybody, that is one person that I can actually say that has never ever hurt anybody," Hatfield said.

But as Yingling left his Southport-area home at 8 a.m. Wednesday to run an errand, police believe his killer stopped him in the driveway.

"He didn't have to work until 10 today, so he was just running down the street to grab a Dr. Pepper and caught him in the driveway," Hatfield said.

He was on the phone with his wife, who was already at work.

"They call each other every morning, so she just happened to be on the phone when this happened," Hatfield said.

Many neighbors knew Yingling from riding his beloved Harley-Davidson motorcycle through the neighborhood.

Carla Windisch, a longtime resident, says nothing like this has ever happened in their neighborhood.

"It just shouldn't happen. There is so many desperate people out there nowadays, with the drugs and no jobs or whatever," said Windisch.

After finding Yingling behind the wheel of his pick-up truck, shot to death, investigators became suspicious about other back-to-back crimes with similar suspect descriptions.

"The MECA (Metropolitan Communications Agency) van is here and we are going to be bringing people in from other scenes to see whether it is connected," said IMPD Deputy Chief Gregory Bieberich.

What bothers Hatfield most about his brother-in-law's murder is that he says Yingling would help anyone. Strangers and, especially, family.

"He's bailed me out of (more) hard times that I could even name over the past 15 years. He is a great guy, never hurt anybody, ever," Hatfield said.

Hatfield says Yingling has an 18-year-old son and a 20-year-old daughter.

Although police are working on an exact motive, they are working to find connections between two juvenile suspects on a crime spree and Yingling's fatal shooting. Officers at several crime scenes realized that suspect and vehicle descriptions seemed to be similar.

As more family and friends arrive on the scene, they could only comfort each other with hugs about Yingling's untimely death. @