Just less than a year after 16-year-old Bryson Leshawn Patterson Jr. was killed, a young man who was in the apartment where he died is accused of shooting him.

Damarion D. Laster, 18, of the 5200 block of Cloverbrook Drive in Fort Wayne, was charged with murder Thursday for the Aug. 24 shooting. A warrant has been issued for Laster’s arrest.

The Allen County prosecutor also filed a sentence enhancement for use of a firearm to commit the crime. The sentence enhancement would add five to 20 years on a sentencing if a jury finds Laster guilty of murder and conditions for the enhancement.

The shooting happened about 1 p.m. in an apartment in the 10600 block of Seiler Road, New Haven.

When police arrived, they found Laster at the scene, kneeling by the front door and crying with blood on his hands, according to the probable cause affidavit written by New Haven police Detective James Krueger.

Laster told officers that Patterson shot himself in the chest to show that a gun he was waving around didn’t have a bullet chambered and ready to shoot.

At the New Haven police station, Laster told officers that he and Patterson were watching Patterson’s girlfriend try on outfits via video chat, and Laster said she was cute. This upset Patterson, he said.

The teens got into a fight where Patterson kicked Laster in the side, and Laster pushed him onto the couch, court documents said. Laster told police that Patterson said, “I’ll pop you,” and retrieved a black bag from the back bedroom and took the gun out of it, waving the gun around before he shot himself.

Laster said the gun belonged to him, but he and Patterson shared it, court documents said. He also said Patterson told him to hide the gun after he’d been shot.

The couple who rent the apartment where Patterson was shot said they saw Laster and Patterson had the bag when they picked the teens up to come to their home. They also told police that Laster and Patterson were “wrestling around” when the couple lay down for a nap, and the man told them to keep quiet.

Shortly after that, the couple heard a shot and saw Laster carry something to the back room, according to the probable cause affidavit. The woman also told police that when she called 911, Laster asked what she was doing.

The Allen County coroner’s office ruled Patterson’s death a homicide in September.

The autopsy showed a graze wound on Patterson’s wrist that lined up with the chest wound if Patterson was in a defensive posture, court documents said. Dr. Scott Wagner, who performed the autopsy, determined that – based on the angle – Patterson would have had to be holding the gun in his left hand, although he was right-handed.

The bullet struck Patterson’s heart, right lung and kidney, according to court records.

No gunpowder residue was found on Patterson’s hands or clothes, meaning the muzzle would have been at least 9 inches away from him, according to Wagner and investigators.

Wagner also determined the gunshot that killed Patterson could have come from the location where Laster had been sitting.

An Indiana State Police crime scene technician found a 9 mm Taurus pistol in one of the bedrooms but found no bullets for the gun and no spent shell casing in the apartment, according to the probable cause affidavit. The technician reported that this was consistent with Laster shooting Patterson and trying to conceal evidence, the affidavit continued.

Laster was not in Allen County Jail as of Thursday evening.

Local Government and General Assignment Reporter

Reporter James D. Wolf Jr. began working as a journalist in 1987 while earning his bachelor’s degree at Purdue University Calumet. He has worked in Indiana, Iowa and Illinois.