As the light was fading Saturday evening, yellow tape cordoned off the 800 block of East Lewis Street and clusters of police cruisers idled with their lights flashing.
A man on the corner asked, “What happened?”
“Somebody got shot,” a woman answered.
“Again?!” the man shouted with equal parts shock and anger, his reaction capturing the mood of residents learning of another shooting in a city that’s seen an unusually high number of killings this year.
Just before 6 p.m. Saturday, 911 dispatchers received a report of shots fired in the neighborhood east of downtown, and as officers headed there, dispatchers took a call about a man down on East Lewis Street, between Francis and Harmar streets, said officer Michael Joyner, a city police spokesman.
Officers found the man in the street, suffering from gunshot wounds. He was unresponsive, and officers performed CPR on him until medics arrived, Joyner said.
He was taken in critical condition to a hospital where doctors pronounced him dead, Joyner said, adding that police had not yet identified the victim.
Lewis Street was closed to traffic while detectives investigated the shooting. Officers searched the neighborhood with a police dog, but no arrests were made.
Police had no information about the shooter to release, and a motive had not been determined, Joyner said.
It was the second fatal shooting of the week. The first one happened Tuesday when gunfire killed a man and badly hurt another in the 3100 block of Smith Street, near Weisser Park. In that shooting, both men were 18 years old, police said.
Not including Saturday’s shooting on East Lewis Street, authorities have confirmed that 36 deaths have been homicides this year in Fort Wayne and Allen County. That figure is a 15-year high. The all-time peak was 43 homicides in 1997, according to the Allen County Coroner’s Office.
Saturday’s fatal shooting occurred around the corner from Jerusalem Baptist Church, the site of an emergency prayer meeting late last month in an effort to curb the violence.
“All I know is something really needs to be done,” Wylie Hill, 61,Ö said. “Young kids don’t know nothing about prayer. They’d rather pick up a gun than talk it out.”
Hill, who’s lived in the neighborhood for 55 years, made a plea for police to hold another event, like they did in April, when guns could be turned in with no questions asked.
“Give another day of amnesty,” she said. “Get these guns off the street.”