The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 1:00 am

Murder count filed in death of city barber

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

Footage from a gas station's surveillance camera aided Fort Wayne detectives in identifying one of the alleged shooters who killed local barber Michael LoVett Jr. outside his shop.

He was a customer named James Dodson Jr.

Dodson, 34, of the 2900 block of Smith Street, is seen on video walking from the parking lot of the BP station after apparently arriving in a gold Lexus SUV that was seen backing into a parking spot at the station, according to court documents.

A minute after the car backed in April 9, Dodson walked toward the barbershop across the street. LoVett, who stepped out of his shop, The Legendary Barbershop, was confronted by three men, one who charged at him and started shooting with Dodson following suit, pulling a handgun and firing at him, court records said.

Dodson was charged Monday with murder, criminal recklessness and using a firearm in the commission of a crime where death results. There is a warrant for his arrest.

The other shooter, wearing a black and white sweatshirt who arrived at the door of the barbershop at 1718 Lake Ave., has not been identified, nor has the man who walked with him wearing darker clothing, according to court documents.

The shooting death stemmed from an argument that became intense as LoVett cut Dodson's hair, according to LoVett's girlfriend, who told police she and LoVett were on their way back from dinner the day of the shooting when LoVett got a call from Dodson who asked to have his hair cut.

She saw Dodson arrive in the Lexus SUV with a dealer plate. He was wearing yellow pants, yellow shoes, a white T-shirt and a multicolored jacket, she said, a description given by other witnesses to the crime, records said.

LoVett's girlfriend said she was able to defuse the argument and Dodson left at 5:22 p.m. She then left to pick up her children, documents said, and talked to LoVett at 5:53 p.m. Shortly after that, she got a phone call that LoVett had been shot.

According to documents, Dodson backed his car in at the BP station at 6:07 p.m. and was seen crossing the street at 6:08 p.m. After the shooting, Dodson ran across the street, and his Lexus was seen heading north through the gas station parking lot. The other men involved in the shooting ran west along Lake toward Lakeside Park.

The day of the shooting, Mark Bieker, Fort Wayne police public information officer, said police were working with multiple stories and witnesses had reported suspects leaving the area in a car and on foot.

Additional footage at Advanced Assembly, where Dodson worked, shows him arriving for work wearing the same outfit he wore the day of the shooting. Employees told management Dodson had shot LoVett, court documents said.

An investigation by Fort Wayne detectives indicated Dodson had been released from the Indiana Department of Correction in 2016, court records said.

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