Neighbor: "I Don't Want to Die in Fort Wayne"

By Scott Sarvay
By Brien McElhatten

June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 8, 2010 at 6:21 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Yet another person has been shot to death at a gas station on Fort Wayne's southeast side.

The Allen County Coroner confirmed that a 38-year-old man was shot in the chest and died at the hospital overnight.

The victim was identified by his tattoos, and by a friend.

Police say the victim was shot just before midnight in the alley behind the BP gas station at the intersection of Anthony and McKinnie, just yards from homes where children play.

This location has seen lots of violence.

In 2008, at least five people were shot at the gas station, having some in the community calling for the station owner to hire extra security.

"You never know what the case might be…it could be over two or three dollars," said one neighbor who wished to remain anonymous. "You might as well go to Detroit or Chicago. If someone has beef with a guy, they'll shoot him down right in front of the kids."

Inspite of police efforts to establish a visible presence in the neighborhood, some residents feel they are being ignored by law enforcement.

"[Police] don’t mess with the south side. You know what I’m saying? The south side is a bunch of black, ignorant people so once they call us we’re going to take our time," said one neighbor who did not wish to be identified.

Police maintain that calls involving weapons are of the highest priority, and defend their operations on the southeast side.

"There are officers in that area that are very dedicated. They have patrolled that area for 15 plus years," said Officer Raquel Foster, who patrolled the southeast quadrant herself for more than a year. "They love the residents, they get to know them."

While police won't reveal the number of officers assigned to a given area at any particular time, they do say concentration is based on the number of calls.

Incidents of violent crime are disproportionately higher in the southeast side. Both police officers and neighbors say to combat those statistics, a community-wide approach will be neccessary.

"This is our home," said one of the neighbors. "We all live here. It should be every person in Fort Wayne to put their foot forward and help out. I'm a young man. I don't want to die in Fort Wayne."

If you have any information about this homicide or any other you can call CrimeStoppers, anonymously, at 436-STOP.

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