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Slain Whiteland grad remembered for love of outdoors

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A Whiteland Community High School graduate loved the outdoors and was a masterful fisherman and hunter, always managing to bring home two deer when he’d go out shooting with friends.

Josh Tucker could bring together friends from high school with new people he met and they’d all spend time together like they’d been friends for years, his friend Sean Patrick said. Patrick and several other friends were at his house June 5 to hang out and talk about hunting, when Tucker was gunned down in the driveway of his southside home after getting into an argument with a neighbor.

Patrick saw him ducking under the front of a parked car and thought he was OK.

But when they rolled him over, he had been shot multiple times, had a faint pulse and couldn’t speak. Tucker, 31, died within minutes.

“I miss him dearly. It’s a hole in my heart that will never fill. I loved that guy just as much as my own living brother. I’ll never forget him,” Patrick said.

Tucker graduated from Whiteland in 2002 and lived for a few years in Trafalgar and Greenwood. He then moved to the southside of Indianapolis and had been there for about five years, and was living with his girlfriend and her 3-year-old son, friend T.J. Trueblood said.

The man police say is the shooter, Albert Rogers, 26, lived a few houses away from Tucker. He was arrested and has been charged with murder. His next hearing is planned for September, according to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.

About a week before the shooting, Rogers had fired two shots at one of Tucker’s dogs when it started running toward the sidewalk as Rogers was walking his puppy, according to a police report. Tucker’s girlfriend and her son were outside in the yard when the shots were fired. Police were called and spoke to Rogers after that incident. He wasn’t arrested.

Taking precautions

Tucker installed an invisible electric fence after the incident to keep his dogs in the yard and went to Rogers’ house on June 5 to let him know and demand an apology. Rogers wasn’t home, but came to Tucker’s house later that evening and they started arguing, according to the police report. The two men were talking about fighting and when Tucker started walking toward Rogers’ van, he fired more than 10 shots at Tucker, the police report said.

Tucker was hit by four bullets. Three struck him in the legs but one struck him in the back and passed through his heart, killing him, according to the police report.

Rogers told police that Tucker pulled a handgun. Rogers’ fiance and her four children were in the van, and he said he feared for their safety, the report said. Tucker was wearing a revolver at the time, but it was unloaded, holstered and had the safety on, the report said.

Tucker often wore a gun around his home, but wouldn’t take it with him when he left the property, Patrick said. He enjoyed shooting and hunting, but he knew and respected the gun laws and cared about gun safety, Patrick said. He wouldn’t have started a gunfight in his front yard because he had a good life with his girlfriend and lots of friends, he said.

“He had too much to lose and he was smarter than that,” Patrick said.

Love of outdoors

Tucker had a way of making friends wherever he went, which is how he met Trueblood in seventh grade. They had both just moved and were the new kids at Whiteland schools, he said. They’ve been best friends ever since.

“Every time I saw him the first thing he would do is always come up and give me a big old hug,” Trueblood said. “If you were new, he would be the first one to come up and talk to you. He always wanted to meet new people and had open arms for everybody. The more people you know, the better, he thought.”

Tucker loved the outdoors and their group of friends would spend summers traveling around the state camping, fishing, riding four-wheelers and hunting, Trueblood said. They didn’t have a particular spot, because they always wanted to try somewhere new and experience something different, he said.

Patrick called him “two-bagger” because he always managed to shoot two deer when they’d go hunting. He managed to bring home two deer the last time they all went hunting at the end of shotgun season, Patrick said. Those memories of fishing and deer hunting will always stay with him, he said.

Tucker was planning to move out of Indianapolis and was looking for land in southern Indiana where he could be closer to the outdoors he loved, Trueblood said.

“He was trying to get out of Marion County and was looking for land down south. I was just devastated. Having your best friend shot and killed, you don’t have words for that,” Trueblood said.

Patrick was with Tucker the night of the shooting in front of Tucker’s house in the 1300 block of East Edgecomb Avenue.

Losing a friend

Rogers came over about 9:45 p.m. and Tucker went to talk to him while his friends were downstairs, Patrick said. They could hear the argument getting louder so they went outside to see what was going on, he said. His friends tried to pull him back in the house, but he continued down the driveway to fight Rogers in the street.

Rogers pulled out a handgun and fired over the roof of the van, the police report said. When police later recovered the gun it had one bullet in the chamber but the rest of the magazine was empty, the according to the report.

“We just heard shooting and shooting and shooting and I just remembered thinking ‘Was it ever going to stop?’ and then I just remember hearing ‘click, click, click,’” Patrick said.

They rushed down the driveway to check on Tucker and saw he had been hit multiple times. Patrick held Tucker’s head and could only feel a faint pulse.

“I just remember holding his face and trying to get him to say something but he couldn’t. So I just held his face and told him how much I loved him and that the ambulance would come and save him,” Patrick said.

Emergency workers arrived shortly afterward, but Patrick watched as they began putting their bags back into the ambulance after examining Tucker. He knew that his friend was dead.

“It was just a senseless act of violence,” Patrick said.

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