Coroner: House fire victims shot to death; deemed homicides

Terry Lagrone (Allen County Sheriff's Department)
Terry Lagrone (Allen County Sheriff's Department)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Allen County Coroner has determined that the two victims found dead during Thursday’s house fire died of gunshot wounds.  They are identified as 40-year-old Terry Lee LaGrone and 19-year-old Desiree Sheets.  The two deaths mark the 24th and 25th homicide victims in Fort Wayne and Allen County in 2013.

The Fort Wayne Fire Department said the fire was intentionally set and are investigating it as arson.

Police said this was not a random act of violence, the two victims were targeted.

The family and friends of the victims were being very cooperative with police.  But as of Friday, investigators had no suspect information.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (260) 436-STOP.

According to fire officials, the dog found dead in the house died in the fire.

A joint investigation by the Fort Wayne Fire Department, Fort Wayne Police Department, Allen County Coroner’s office, Allen County Prosecutor’s office, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is ongoing.

Two found in house fire

The Fort Wayne Fire Department (FWFD) was called to the fire around 8:45 a.m. on Thursday and were on scene by 8:50 a.m. When the Fort Wayne Fire Department arrived, flames could be seen at the doors and on the sides of the house.

Photos: Fatal house fire on Senate Avenue

The first victim was found as crews began to fight the fire and the second as they continued to work on the flames. Crews also found a dog that died in the fire.

Officials say crews had the fire under control by 9:15 a.m.

Investigators with the Fort Wayne Fire Department, Fort Wayne Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Allen County Coroner’s Office are involved in the investigation into the incident.

An ATF spokesperson told NewsChannel 15 that his office was called in to assist in the fire investigation.  He added that his office has a certified fire investigator at the scene to help FWFD officials determine the cause, origin, and if arson took place.

A FWFD spokesperson said the investigation into the fire and two deaths was being handled the same way any fatal fire would be treated.

Before any official release, dozens of family and neighbors called the incident suspicious.

“I know he’s the type of person who would have got out of the house.  I know that,” said neighbor Letrice Lewis.  “I’m very suspicious.”

Police officers remained on the scene Friday.  Police cars were parked in the front yard and back yard of the home.

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