Michael Farmer Jr. had one wish prior to celebrating his 20th birthday. His wish was to come home from Alabama and celebrate with friends. That wish came true, but just days later he would be the victim of a deadly shooting. Now, nearly three years later, his murder is still unsolved.
“I sit here and listen to the scanner most of the time,” said Michael Farmer Sr. “I’m hearing, “‘shots fired.’” I had a gut feeling, I mean, it’s weird.”
A father with an eerie intuition, “4:30 news said the individual had been shot had passed. That’s how I found out that he died and where he was.”
Before officials could confirm it, Farmer Sr. had pieced together his only son’s death, “Michael had only been in town two days,” Farmer Sr. said. “I went to Alabama and got him because he wanted to spend his birthday with his friends.”
That birthday wish brought Farmer back to Evansville where he grew up. Farmer Sr. and his only son lived together and they’re relationship was a close one. “A lot of people thought he was on the phone with a young lady or one of his friends, but he was calling his daddy,” said Farmer. “That’s the kind of relationship we had.”
Days before his death, Michael went to his dad asking to turn a new leaf in life. “‘Dad, I want to be like you,’” recalled Farmer. “I said, ‘Well, this is what we need to do…first thing we need to do is finish this education, get this stuff settled with the courts, get your driver’s license, get you a job.’ We were going through that process when he passed.”
Farmer Sr. says Caldwell Housing Development was not a normal place for his son to be and there are still many questions as to what led up to those deadly shots being fired just before 2 AM.
“All I know is, a car drove by, shot at him and maybe someone else and my son is dead.”
Farmer was found next to a playground with five gunshot wounds. He was taken, at the time, to St. Mary’s Hospital, where he died around 3 AM. Hours after the shooting, Evansville Police determined the shooting was gang-related.
“It’s important for us to remember that he’s the victim of a murder…regardless of his past,” said EPD Sgt. Jason Cullum. “But it’s also important for us to realize, that his past could play a role in his murder, so we have to balance that.”
Crime scene collected 8 shell casings and a firearm was recovered during the investigation, but who it belongs to has never been made public.
Investigators went door-to-door trying to get answers but those efforts turned up little information. The detective on Farmer’s case says there is evidence but not enough to make an arrest and bring the case to court.
EPD says the last time there was a lead in the case was nearly a year ago. Police are renewing a plea to the community for any information in the unsolved murder.
“That boy meant so much to me,” said Farmer. “A lot of people don’t realize how much that boy meant to me.”
Farmer’s father says his house is much quieter now. He holds on to hope that one day there will be a break in his son’s case. In the meantime the father who had to bury his only son hopes this message doesn’t fall on deaf ears, “Put the damn guns down and get educated,” he said. “In any order…only thing that’s going to happen is you’ll wind up like my son or you’ll be in prison.”
Evansville Police say a white passenger car was seen fleeing the scene moments after the shooting. Anyone with information is urged to contact the department or to leave an anonymous tip, call the We-Tip Hotline.