The Journal Gazette
Thursday, June 20, 2019 1:00 am

Details emerge in zoo arrests

Pills, meth found inside one vehicle

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

Gunfire erupted at Lima Road and Fernhill Avenue, and the drama continued at Fort Wayne Children's Zoo where crowds, including children, watched police arrest two of the alleged shooters.

Formal charges were filed this week against Travis Ladd, 23, of the 3700 block of East Washington Boulevard; Matthew Fox Jr., 27, of the 1200 block of West Washington Boulevard; and Jontra Lynn Clark, 24, of the 1100 block of Columbia Avenue.

They were arrested Friday after the shootout, though others were involved in the incident that forced zoo personnel to evacuate hundreds of people, according to documents filed Monday in Allen Superior Court. 

The shootout began when Ladd reached out the passenger window of a Chrysler 200 and emptied his Ruger 9 mm handgun after Fox, driving a stolen Chrysler 300, pointed a gun at him at a gas station at Lima and Fernhill, Ladd told police. 

Ladd said both he and Derrick Maley shot at the Chrysler 300 that belonged to Abby Mowery, court records said.

Ladd and Maley were riding in the Chrysler 200 driven by Mowery, who told Ladd they were meeting Fox to buy an Xbox from him, court documents said.

Mowery, however, called police and reported her vehicle – the Chrysler 300 that Fox was driving – had been stolen, according to court documents.

Ladd told police Mowery chased Fox to Wells Street where Fox crashed the stolen Chrysler 300 into an AEP utility pole. There, Fox and Clark, his passenger, jumped out of the car and ran west through a thicket of trees to Sherman Boulevard. 

Fox and Clark jumped a 12-foot chain-link fence at the zoo, entering the grounds and mixing in with the crowds until they were arrested by Fort Wayne police officers, court records said. 

Officers responding to the crashed Chrysler 300 found Mowery, Ladd and Maley waiting for them, court records said.

The officers were told by witnesses and Fort Wayne firefighters at the scene that Ladd and the two others had taken several duffel bags out of the crashed car and put them in their vehicle, court documents said. 

Officers also noted pills that turned out to be hydrocodone and crystal methamphetamine sitting on the center console of the Chrysler 200. A sweep of the vehicle turned up a Ruger handgun, court records said. 

Clark told police Mowery's car rammed the Chrysler 300 when he and Fox were at the gas station. Then Ladd and Maley, who was not charged, started to shoot at them, Clark told police.

Clark said he fired a single shot at Mowery's car, court documents said, and a handgun was found in the crashed car. 

Mowery told police she saw Fox shooting back toward her vehicle as she chased the Chrysler 300 onto Wells Street. Clark also said Fox took out a black handgun and shot back at Mowery's car, according to court documents. 

Fox is charged with leaving the scene of an accident, being a felon carrying a handgun, criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and leaving the scene of an accident. He was being held at the Allen County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail and $10,000 bail for violating home detention June 5. 

Clark is charged with criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. He was being held in lieu of $10,750 bail. 

Ladd was charged Monday criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license.

Fox, Clark and Ladd have court hearings today.

Mowery and Maley have not been charged.

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