The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, March 16, 2016 2:34 am

9 wounded in shootings

Jamie Duffy | The Journal Gazette

Blood is still spattered on the porch at 1415 McCulloch St. where six people were shot around 1 a.m. Sunday. On the grass, at the bottom of the porch steps, is used packaging for a gauze dressing. Two screen doors hang open and an apple-green toddler’s scooter is tucked at the corner next to a round table.

No one lives there anymore, according to Ozie Bell Dates, who lives next door in a small white house surrounded by a profusion of day lilies and petunias.  She recalled seeing the property’s owner speaking with the renter before they packed up and left a few weeks back, but she’s not sure exactly when it was. 

Neither are the couple across the street who said they were sleeping when, according to witnesses, an as-yet-unidentified car ripped by spraying bullets on the partyers. Police have not stated whether the shots occurred outside the home or came from a vehicle.

A young woman in her 20s visiting the site with a friend early Sunday afternoon said she was inside the party house when the shooting occurred. She thought the sounds were firecrackers until people rushed inside screaming. "They ran in with blood on them," said the woman, who asked not to be identified. She estimated that the revelers were between the ages of 17 and 22 and there were about 25 of them. 

According to the woman at the party, six people were shot as they partied outside the home and an additional three people were shot farther up the street near the McCulloch Center. A police report on the shooting confirms that six people were found shot at the scene, and a short time later police received reports that three more victims had walked into a hospital.

The Fort Wayne Police Department has reported nine people wounded. Early Sunday there was one man listed in critical condition, one woman in serious condition, and four men and three women in good condition. No further updates were available Sunday night.

Sunday afternoon, one neighbor about four houses down sat outside his house with several children and said he didn’t want to talk about the shooting.

As he prepared to clean up from last night’s party at his own house, he said everyone in his home was up at that time and the shooting made his children cry.

Up the street at McCulloch and Hayden streets, a Sunday-morning church service at the Divine Faith Baptist Church was coming to a close. The Rev. Charlotte Ann White said after the service that she remembers young children who lived at the house where the party took place who used to come play on the swing set at the church and peep in the windows sometimes. 

"I hadn’t seen them for a while," she said. The church membership of about 25 people has evangelized in the neighborhood before, and White said it will probably again, calling people to the Lord instead of gun violence. She and her husband founded the church 30 years ago.

"Thirty years ago, a lot more people were living in the area. It hasn’t always been a rough area," White said.

She was there at the church at midnight when she came to "check on things and make sure the table was set up." When she got to her car parked outside in the street, she was approached by a man who seemed to be connected to the party and was directing people on where to park. It seemed to her that more people would be coming, she said.

"There’s too much violence," the young woman who witnessed the event said. "Something really has to give."

Police said early Sunday that they did not know what led to the disturbance, had no suspects or persons of interest, and no weapons had been recovered. 

Police said they were interviewing witnesses, and crime scene units were searching for and collecting evidence Sunday. They asked anyone with information to call the police department at 427-1222 or Crime Stoppers at 436-7867.


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