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South Side student ID’d as slain teen; no info on killers

– one silver and the second blue – fluttered in the breeze Thursday evening, marking the place where a young man took his final breath Wednesday.

Two fluttering balloons: The only sign of activity near the 917 Hugh St. home where Elijah O. Freeman, a Fort Wayne teen, was gunned down Wednesday afternoon.

Freeman, a South Side High School student, was killed Wednesday afternoon after an argument in an alley near the Hugh Street house, police said.

Witnesses told police that at least two suspects fired six to seven shots at him. Freeman ran a few feet before collapsing next to the foundation of the blue house, they said.

The identity of the teen was released Thursday in a report from the Allen County Coroner’s Office.

Freeman’s death was ruled a homicide – the 15th in Fort Wayne and Allen County in 2013, the coroner said. Those homicides include one police-action shooting and one death from complications in a 1980 shooting.

Detectives on Thursday continued their investigation, but there was little information.

“I really haven’t heard any further details as far as the description or anything like that,” Fort Wayne police spokesman John Chambers said.

The 900 block of Hugh Street was nearly deserted Thursday, only a few cars parked along the street and some passers-by exchanged uncomfortable glances as vehicles drove by.

A city police car circled the area, slowing to a stop to watch as cars neared the blue house that had been the center of everyone’s attention the day before.

The next block over, however, children at Hanna Park squealed as they played on the swings and ran through the playground.

Though the neighborhood surrounding the house where Freeman died remained eerily quiet, social media sites were muddled with “rest in peace” messages – teenagers saying goodbye to the friend they called “Mookie.”

Local groups, including the NAACP’s Fort Wayne/Allen County chapter, rallied to call for an end to the violence that has plagued the city in recent weeks.

Police urged community members to come forward with information about Wednesday’s shooting – or any of the recent violence.

Yet Thursday came and went, with little to add.

jcrothers@jg.net

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