FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – He’s the man accused in the Eby Avenue shooting caught up tape. But Charles Benson, 25, was once a young kid growing up in Fort Wayne. While a medical expert said Benson is ultimately responsible for his actions, there are usually environmental factors at a young age that contribute to criminal behavior.
Hundreds of yearbooks line the shelves in the Allen County Public Library’s Genealogy department. After combing through dozens of them, 15 Finds Out found pictures of Benson when he was in first grade, sixth grade, and a freshman. The school photos show the boy before the accusations.
Flash forward to Monday, where Benson along with Marcus Lindsay faced formal charges for the Eby Avenue shooting. Benson is charged with murder while Lindsay is charged with assisting a criminal accused of murder.
Forensic Psychologist Dr. Stephen Ross said a decision to fire off dozens of rounds at someone doesn’t happen overnight. While Ross said the criminal is always the one responsible for his or her actions, much of the time, criminal decisions are made after years of a tough family life, abuse, and/or gang affiliation.
“I think it was an accumulation of things that had happened to him and things that he did more likely and the decisions that he made,” Ross said. He described similar criminal actions as adrenaline decay. “Your mind stops thinking, your muscles take over, and you just shoot. And you get so worked up your heart rate and you’re breathing so quickly that the gun is really doing the thinking for you,” Ross said. “And many times you stop shooting when you run out of ammo. And then you run.”
Benson’s record of crime began when he was only 19 when he was charged with an eerily similar offense in 2008. According to court documents, he went into the front seat of a car and shot the driver point blank in the legs as the driver tried to get away.
In a plea deal for that crime, Benson eventually pleaded guilty to a battery charge and spent some time behind bars.
15 Finds Out spoke with a man on Monday who said he’s close with the Benson family. He didn’t want to give his name but said when Benson recently got out of jail, the experience left a negative impression.
“That frame of mind when he came out, you know — pride and afraid of change is what basically does it for a lot of these kids,” he said. “They’re afraid to change and do what’s right.”
The man told 15 Finds Out much of the time criminals get back into the same “click” as soon as they get out of jail. He said it should be a wake-up call for the community to help create more school pictures and fewer mug shots.
“[The young men] just has to be more down to earth in what they’re thinking because this isn’t TV,” he said. “And this young man (Benson)…I don’t know. I have no idea what he had on his mind.”
FWPD’s Deputy Chief of Investigations first told NewsChannel 15 on September 9 that the Eby Avenue shooting has ties to gang activity.