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Barbershop killer in, out of mall in 1 minute


– It was business as usual Thursday afternoon at Pontiac Mall.

The grocery store, clothing shop and salon inside were busy with customers 24 hours after the parking lot swarmed with police cars and neighbors wanting to know what had happened.

The only signs of Wednesday’s shooting death at the E&M Barbershop inside the mall at 1108 E. Pontiac St. were conversations between employees and customers and a vacant shop at the end of the hall.

The Allen County coroner identified the victim Thursday as Kenton Allen Beckman, 44. He was taken to Parkview Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.

His death was ruled Allen County’s 26th homicide this year. All but one occurred in Fort Wayne. Police have no suspects in Beckman’s death.

Pontiac Food Market Manager Khalid Alkady said he was sitting in his office shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday when he heard five shots ring out near his store. As Alkady ran to the front of the store to find out what was going on, two other grocery store employees corralled customers into a small room in the back.

“I came up to the front and saw the man running away,” he said. “Then I heard two more shots.”

Alkady said men he had seen working at the barbershop down the hall chased the shooter out of the building and fired a gun twice at him as he fled through the parking lot.

“I watched on the video from the camera and at 3:47, he came in and at 3:48 he was running out the door,” Alkady said. “In one minute, he was gone.”

Down the hall from the grocery store, past a men’s and women’s clothing store, the barbershop sat empty Thursday, a white sheet covering part of the entryway.

Through glass windows, several pools of blood could be seen and a barber’s chair was tipped on its side.

With no new information from police Thursday, customers and shop owners continued to discuss the shooting.

“I’ve never seen a problem like that happen,” Alkady said, turning to a co-worker who nodded in agreement.

The shooting continued a string of violence in Fort Wayne in recent days, including gunfire directed at houses.

Wednesday’s homicide remains under investigation by city police, the Allen County coroner and the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office.

In 2007, Beckman was charged with carjacking, accused of fleeing in his mother’s car after throwing her to the ground and taking money from her purse. The case was later dismissed.

At least two protective orders had been filed against Beckman, and he was prohibited from possessing a firearm, according to court documents.