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Man killed after gunbattle with Fort Wayne Police

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Location of Friday's shooting:

Neighbor stunned in aftermath of shooting which ended on front lawn

Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 4:59 pm

“I watched it all.”

That sentence was said by a woman who, as could be expected, seemed slightly dazed by the fatal police-action shooting she witnessed Thursday morning in a northeast-side neighborhood.

Police Chief Rusty York said a 22-year-old man was killed after an early-morning gunbattle with officers from the Fort Wayne Police Department. Officers were dispatched around 8:22 a.m. to the 7700 block of Weymouth Court in the Wheatridge addition to investigate a possible suicide attempt.

A news release issued later Thursday by the police department said officers were notified that a resident at the home "was under the influence of a mind- or mood-altering drug(s) and that he was behaving irrationally, and that he had access to a firearm."

Upon arrival, officers entered the home where the call originated and were fired upon, according to York. The officers then retreated from the residence. The 22-year-old, whose identity has not been released, exited the home while firing indiscriminately, including at the officers, he said.

Officer Raquel Foster, a spokeswoman for the FWPD, had confirmed earlier that multiple structures in the neighborhood were struck and that officers were collecting evidence.

York said the man got into a vehicle and began driving while shooting before pulling into a driveway and getting out. The news release said the man "pursued one of the officers into the front drive of a neighboring home. The suspect then exited the vehicle and exchanged gunfire with that officer and the other officers on the scene."

It was there that he was shot by officers after they had ordered him to the ground, York said.

The woman, who did not want to be identified, didn't dispute in the slightest those events that took place outside the home, and they left her amazed.

“(I was in) disbelief. I just couldn't believe it,” she said. “I was just like, 'Holy cats,'” she said. “I heard the shots earlier…I saw them. I heard them tell him, 'Get to the ground, get to the ground…'”

“Then, all of a sudden…I saw him go down.”

The woman paused, then repeated herself.

“I saw him go down.”

York said the man, whose identity has not been confirmed, was armed with a semiautomatic pistol and that four officers were involved in the exchange of gunfire. York and Foster said the officers' identities will be released Friday.

“This is unusual for the police department,” York said. “This was a very rapidly evolving situation. ... The containment of the situation was due to the good tactics of the officers.”

Josh Burnett, who lives on neighboring street Tendall Court, was watching police officers process the scene on Weymouth Court after the incident. He said he moved into the neighborhood last fall and was awakened Thursday by the gunfire.

“They were in rapid succession; I knew they were gunshots,” Burnett said. “It was pretty unmistakable.”

“You think it's quiet when you move in; you see kids playing and everything,” he said. “It's a nice neighborhood…this is just different.”

None of the officers were injured in the incident, and no other injuries were reported.

This is the fourth fatal shooting Fort Wayne police have been involved in this year but the second in less than a week, after a traffic stop last weekend turned fatal when two men reportedly fled from officers.

Police had tried to stop a red SUV at the intersection of Congress Avenue and Gaywood Drive around 3:50 p.m. Saturday. The two people inside the vehicle ran and were chased by police, with the driver getting away. The passenger ran through the neighborhood, and at some point, confronted police and was fatally shot, police said.

A firearm was found near Tavontae Haney's body in the 4300 block of Spatz Avenue, according to police.