Murder charges filed in tobacco store killing

Mug shot of Jamel Coleman courtesy the Allen County Sheriff's Department.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A 22-year-old has been formally charged with murder in one of the few homicides in Fort Wayne so far in 2014.

Jamel Coleman is accused of murdering Antonio Lopez Nino, 44, the owner of the Smoke House Tobacco Outlet on Lafayette Street, on April 7.  A customer saw Nino’s body on the floor of the business through a window that morning and called police.  Officers found him lying in a pool of blood with his hands duct taped behind his back.

Police initially reported that Nino was in critical condition but announced he had died before the day was over. His death was the third homicide in Allen County in 2014. By this time in 2013, there had been 15 homicides.

Coleman was arrested about a week after the murder. Police caught him in Indianapolis as he got off a Greyhound bus. Tips police received from the public were a critical part of the investigation. 

Investigators believe Coleman was living at a residence near the tobacco shop and it was a tip that informed police that he would be taking a bus from Muncie to Indianapolis.

According to court documents NewsChannel 15 previously received, Coleman admitted he had been smoking marijuana and synthetic marijuana commonly known as “Spice” and he had just wanted what was in Nino’s wallet, not anything from the store.   During questioning Coleman told police he used the gun to scare Nino and when Nino tried to get the gun from him the two struggled.  Coleman was able to get Nino on the floor where he then tied up his hands with duct tape.  Coleman told police he used Nino’s gun in the killing because the gun he had wouldn’t fire.

 He then fled with Nino’s wallet, which contained $100 to $200 in it, along with the two guns and threw them in the river by the Old Fort.

During questioning, Coleman also told police that if he wouldn’t have been able to rob Nino, he would have held up the Treasure House thrift shop located next door.

He was preliminary charged with murder and armed robbery causing death.

On Tuesday, Coleman was formally charged with one count of felony Murder, one count of Murder, Robbery Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury, and Firearm Used in Commission of Offense.

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