Michiana Unsolved: The Murder of Baljeet Singh
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - It was a normal summer night in South Bend as 24-year-old Baljeet Singh works the register at a gas station on the city’s West Side.
“There were a lot of customers everyday that would go in there, talk with Baljeet. There was some homeless people that stayed in the area that were very friendly with Baljeet. He allow them to stay, sometimes give them money if they needed it,” South Bend Police Detective Chris Kronewitter says.
But as time drew closer to midnight, Baljeet received an unexpected visitor.
“Back on September 18, 2019, just before 11 o’clock, South Bend Police uniform get a call out to 3615 Lincolnway West, a 66 Phillips gas station, where there had been a robbery and a shooting,” Kronewitter said.
Within the hour, the owner of the gas station broke the news to Baljeet’s uncle, Jasbir Singh, in Elkhart.
Jasbir spoke to 16 News Now for the first time since his nephew’s death with his coworker and friend, Sukhyinder Singh, also known as “Ricky”, who helped translate.
“That night, he (Jasbir) got off work and he was home. He was eating, and where his nephew work, the owner called him. They say he got shot at the gas station,” Sukhyinder said.
As police rushed to the scene, Kronewitter was conducting interviews back at the station.
“Initially, instead of me going to the scene, I went to the South Bend Police Department because there were two possible witnesses to this crime. After the interviews, I learned that there was a video of the incident,” Kronewitter said.
Luckily, surveillance cameras posted in-and-around the store were rolling.
“Watching that happen, I seen a young male black come inside the store with a handgun. From head-to-toe, you really couldn’t see anything, any features about him, but you could tell it was going to be a male. He had a black semi-automatic handgun in his hand. He pointed that at Baljeet and demanded the money and wanting more money, he came around the counter, and as Baljeet is making a movement, which could have been to go down to the cash box, there was a small bat there also, but I don’t think Baljeet was trying to defend himself and hurt this person, Baljeet reached down and immediately the suspect fired upon him one time in the lower torso. You can see Baljeet flinch, and the suspect runs out and Baljeet goes outside, and you can see him in the parking lot being helped by a homeless person that was known to hang out in that area,” Kronewitter explained.
After taking a deep breathe, Kronewitter continued, “And unfortunately, he didn’t survive those injuries.”
In shock, Jasbir was left speechless.
“His reaction was like deeply sad that moment. He was crying. He don’t have a word to explain,” Sukhyinder says.
To make matters worse, the man who shot Baljeet escaped unfazed and unrecognized.
“We got a lot of Crime Stoppers tips, a lot of tips as the possible suspects, which we followed up each lead. Unfortunately, we were unable to get information on any particular suspects saying this is who he was,” Kronewitter says.
“Do you guys know anything about the shooter at all?”, 16 News Now asked Jasbir.
“No, no he doesn’t,” Sukhyinder replied.
Within days, Baljeet’s murder not hit home locally for many of his customers, the Sikh community, and his uncle, Baljeet’s only known relative in the U.S., but internationally as well, as his mother and father in his homeland of Chandigarh, India are in tears after learning their one and only son was dead.
“He came in 2017. His (Jasbir’s) nephew was basically taking care of his family back home too and they only have one son and after that, he is sad, and they also sad too. Every day they miss him,” Sukhyinder says.
Despite the Baljeet’s murder still a mystery a year and a half later, and the suspicion surrounding the suspect, Kronewitter believes this case, along with key evidence from the scene the night of the shooting, is closer to being solved that what most people think.
“We have a couple of very good pieces of evidence that when this person is found, we will know that is our guy,” Kronewitter says.
When asked how he would describe this case, Kronewitter used one word.
“Solvable. Very solvable. As I said, we got some good evidence out there and eventually that evidence is going to pan out and we are going to know exactly who is the person that did this. And that person is going to have to pay for taking the life of someone. It was a senseless crime.”
Moving forward, Jasbir says he would like to see the Baljeet’s murderer in handcuffs before what happens to Baljeet happens to someone else.
“He want the person who shot his nephew, they should catch him so it won’t happen to another person. And he also believes the police department that sooner or later, they will catch him.” Sukhyinder says.
Concerned about the well-being of Baljeet’s family, Kronewitter says he hopes the community steps up to help bring the man who murdered Baljeet to justice.
“This guy, isn’t the only guy who knows what he did. There are other people out there that know this and if they have the courage to step forward and say, ‘Yes, on this day, this person told me he did this, this is how he did it’, I believe that’s what is going to solve this case,” Kronewitter says.
A reward is being offered to anyone who has information that could lead to an arrest.
So far, investigators have yet to name any suspects or make any arrests in this case but if you know who this is, or have any information that could lead to solving the murder of Baljeet Singh, you’re asked to contact the County Metro Homicide Unit at 574-235-5009, or Michiana Crime Stoppers at 574-288-STOP.
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