FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A 17-year-old boy died on Wednesday after two people gunned him down in a backyard in the 900-block of Hugh Street.
The Allen County Coroner’s Office declared Elijah Freeman, 17, of Fort Wayne, the 15th homicide victim in Fort Wayne and Allen County in 2013.
Fort Wayne Police Chief Rusty York said police received a call about shots fired at 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday. He said about seven shots were fired. He also said witnesses gave good descriptions of the suspects.
Chief York believes it’s yet another gang related shooting. “I think this is another situation where we’re looking at … I don’t think I’m being premature in saying that we’re dealing with gangs, drugs, and guns,” York explained.
Police are confident they’ll find the person responsible for the fatal shooting soon. “We have officers familiar with the individual who is the suspect. So, we have quite a few officers in the area looking.”
NewsChannel 15 spoke with one man who said he saw the shooting happen. The witness said he was eating a sandwich in his home, heard the first shot, looked outside and saw Freeman being gun downed by two men. “When he finished the boy off, he took off down the street with another boy,” he said.
He said he called 911 and gave police a complete description of the two suspects, something he encourages anyone who witnesses a shooting to do. “If you see somebody shoot somebody down pick up the doggone phone call the police. Call the police. You ain’t got no reason to be scared. Scared of what.”
Wednesday’s shooting is the sixth shooting within a week for Fort Wayne and Allen County. There were five shootings over Easter weekend that left two dead, two critically injured and left another in fair condition.
On Tuesday, Chief York spoke with NewsChannel 15 about crime in Fort Wayne. Chief York said that, in a effort to stop the violence, a task force was being formed to specifically target gang violence. The task force was expected to start working beginning the week of April 8.
“People should not feel free to commit heinous crimes and get away with it and have people intimidated to not come forward and talk,” Chief York said on Tuesday. “We can’t live like this.”