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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Police block off the corner of Hawthorne and Webster streets after a man was shot Tuesday afternoon.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette A tow truck prepares to tow away a car that was at the scene of a shooting at the corner of W. Hawthorne St. and Webster St. in Fort Wayne, IN on Tuesday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 12:31 pm

Gunshots, body stun 'quiet' area

Jeff Wiehe The Journal Gazette

By the time the medics with the fire crew arrived, whatever life was in the body wearing red and black sneakers was gone.  

The body of a black male was lying face down in the snow where someone had left him, right in front of a gray Chevy Impala that looked as if it had almost veered off the road.

Fort Wayne police officers, detectives and crime scene technicians milled about, canvassing the neighborhood, collecting evidence and questioning residents who made their way outdoors to see about the many squad cars and yellow crime scene tape. 

It was an an odd scene at the corner of Hawthorne and Webster streets, neighbors said, where little violence – or at least, little deadly violence – had erupted over the years. 

Until Tuesday. 

About 3:50 p.m., someone called 911 after hearing a barrage of shots ring out. 

Some residents heard four or five; some as many as six. Those who came out of their homes due to the gunfire quickly saw the body on the ground, on Hawhtorne between Webster and McClellan streets.

The body has not been identified. 

Residents also saw two people run from the scene – one north, the other south, police said. 

"I heard the gunshots go off, about four or five of them, and came out and saw that car there parked," said Dennis Phovemire, who has lived in the neighborhood since 2008. "Then I seen the body in front of it. I saw a skinny black guy running down that alley back toward town." 

Phovemire saw only the one person run from the scene and said he was wearing a brown shirt and khaki pants and might have been about 5 feet 8 inches tall.

A resident who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 40 years and resides a block away from Phovemire also saw someone run from the scene, but he could not give a description.

While police walked through the area, the body lay in the snow while investigators photographed the scene from multiple angles. 

Some officers with police dogs looked for a track, others continued to talk with residents – some who live blocks away from the shooting – and still others huddled and compared notes.  

Residents who were leaving their homes as the late afternoon turned to evening were surprised by the police presence and the yellow tape that blocked off much of Hawthorne between Webster and McClellan.

Just before 5 p.m., officers covered the body with a white sheet. A short time later, he was placed in a body bag. The Allen County Coroner’s Office was expected to do an autopsy today to determine the manner and cause of death. If ruled a homicide, it would be the county’s third this year. 

"This is crazy," said Trivodka Lundy, who has lived in the neighborhood for two years. "Nothing goes on here. This is the quiet end of the block." 

If anyone has any information on the shooting, please call Crime Stoppers at 436-7867.

jeffwiehe@jg.net