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WNY Native Killed in Indianapolis Home Invasion

11:31 AM, Mar 20, 2013   |    comments
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  • Thomas Tefft; Photo courtesy: indystar.com
  • Photo courtesy: indystar.com
    

Written by Jeff Swiatek, indystar.com

Wade Tefft stood next to his sister in a Far-Northside neighborhood Sunday and asked for help to solve a killing that happened right behind them, in their parents' modest brick home.

"We are asking anyone in the community to help us find my father's killer," Tefft said. "There is a cold-blooded murderer loose in the streets of the city tonight. He needs to be found and brought to justice."

The emotional plea from brother and sister came two days after police said 67-year-old Thomas Tefft was shot to death early Friday by a masked gunman inside his home in the 7800 block of Harcourt Springs Place.

Police said the suspect, who stole Tefft's 2009 black Hyundai Sonata from the garage, was still at large late Sunday.

Wade Tefft said he and his sister, Lynn Hoff, hope their personal plea will help spur someone to call Indianapolis police with information about the gunman's identity or whereabouts.

Hoff's voice broke as she talked about her father, who moved with his wife to Indianapolis in 1996.

"My father was the kindest, gentlest person I knew. I named my son after him," said Hoff, who lives in Aurora, Ill., and does community relations work for a health group. "My father lived an amazing 67 years of life, giving to everyone. This is not the way he should have been taken from us."

Thomas Tefft was a glazier at Cook's Glass & Mirror Co. in Indianapolis. He previously ran his family's glass business in Cassadaga, N.Y., for 35 years, before selling it and moving to Indianapolis to be closer to relatives, Hoff said.

Her father's death is all the more difficult because he was the primary caretaker for his wife, who's been battling metastatic breast cancer for the past seven years, Hoff said.

Indianapolis police said Tefft's wife locked herself in a room, fearing for her life, during an apparent burglary at their home about 6:30 a.m. Responding to a 911 call of a burglary, police said they found Thomas Tefft dead of a gunshot wound.

The suspect was described as a man in his 20s who was wearing a ski mask. He drove off in the Teffts' vehicle that had an Indiana Wesleyan license plate border and the number IW813, police said.

The neighborhood near 79th Street and Harcourt Road is a subdivision of tightly spaced one-story houses, some facing two man-made ponds. Winding streets include concrete sidewalks and are lined with young trees.

Wade Tefft, chief pilot for an aircraft management company in Englewood, Colo., said he flew to Indianapolis on Friday, after hearing about his father's death. He also spoke Saturday to a gathering of Indianapolis police during roll call, offering them help in their investigation.

Wade Tefft said he last saw his father in January, when they went to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky.

Among her father's favorite activities was spending time with his five grandchildren, Hoff said.

"To have to tell those five kids they lost their ... papa, it was the hardest thing I had to do," she said.

Police urge anyone with information about the shooting to call police at (317) 327-3475 or Crime Stoppers at (317)262-TIPS (8477).

Written by Jeff Swiatek, indystar.com

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