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The Journal Gazette

  • Two men were found Thursday evening inside this Ford Windstar van parked at an angle to the curb on Wells Street. One was declared dead at the scene; the other died later. (Jamie Duffy | The Journal Gazette)

Friday, June 29, 2018 1:00 am

3 killed in midnight violence

2 found in van, another lying in road

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

The streets of Fort Wayne turned deadly just past midnight Thursday as violence claimed three more young black men, adding to Sunday morning's gunshot death of 27-year-old Donta L. Grundy.

Dernail Ivory Brown, 26, was found lying on the ground at Harrison and Fourth streets at 12:05 a.m., according to a statement from the Fort Wayne Police Department. Brown was pronounced dead at the scene.

While police were working that crime scene, they received word that a vehicle had struck a parked car at Fourth Street west of Wells Street and that the crash was linked to the shooting.

Inside the vehicle, Deshaun Devon Richards, 25, and Breondon Devon Pinkston, 28, were found suffering from gunshot wounds.  One victim died in the car, and one was taken to a hospital in critical condition where he died, although it was unclear Thursday evening who died where. The Allen County coroner identified all three men Thursday and said they were the 22nd, 23rd and 24th homicide victims in Allen County this year.

The homicide toll in 2017 was 41, and as of June 29 last year, there had been 14 homicides. In 2016, there were 49 homicides, making it the deadliest year on record and one of three years when the homicide number surpassed 40 in Allen County.

Thursday afternoon, there was no indication at the intersection where Brown perished that blood had been shed. However, the Ford Windstar van Pinkston and Richards were apparently in was still parked at an angle to the curb on Wells Street, about 40 feet from The Pantry's back door.

The back right fender was damaged, the right side of the car had been side-swiped and a hubcap was in the street next to the right front fender.

Fresh skid marks had been left on the sidewalk before the van came to a stop.

Gina Lamle, a patron at The Pantry on Thursday afternoon with her mother, Janice Bailey, pointed out the car. Lamle, who was not in the bar at midnight, said it was incorrect to say The Pantry was involved in the shootings.

The music is played so loud inside the bar that it would have been impossible to hear anything, Lamle added.

A candlelight vigil for homicide victims has been called for 9 p.m. Saturday in front of the Allen County Courthouse, according to David Miller, who founded the local group Stand Up For Justice.

Fort Wayne United, a mayoral initiative founded to seek alternatives for black men and boys, announced last week that it is forming a Ten Point Coalition group.

The initial Ten Point Coalition, formed in Indianapolis, was able to lower one neighborhood's homicide rate by patrolling the neighborhood.

John Perlich, spokesman for the city of Fort Wayne and speaking for Fort Wayne United, said such a group can't be implemented overnight.

“The next steps in the process are continuing to secure funding, collecting data, convening teams, and conducting training. We're moving as quickly as possible as a community, but it takes time. We have one chance to do this right and that's what we're going to do,” Perlich said in an email Thursday.