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Body found in lot is ruled 4th slaying of year

Rainer
The Journal Gazette

An 18-year-old was found shot to death early Monday in a grassy, vacant lot in a southeast Fort Wayne neighborhood, police said.

Just after 2 a.m., a man discovered the body of Nathaniel Jishaun Rainer near Emily and Smith streets, north of East Pontiac Street, and flagged down a police officer, authorities said.

Medics pronounced Rainer, of Fort Wayne, dead at the scene, police said. The Allen County Coroner’s Office confirmed his identity and ruled that his death was a homicide.

No eyewitnesses to the shooting have come forward, but police have received reports from people who heard what they believed was a single gunshot around the time Rainer was found, said officer Raquel Foster, a city police spokeswoman.

A neighbor who lives a few doors from the empty lot told The Journal Gazette he heard four to six shots about the time Rainer was found.

“I was in my bed sleeping, and I heard gunshots, and I told my mom to call police,” said the man who asked to remain anonymous out of concern for his safety.

Before authorities located Rainer’s body, a neighbor called police to report that a vehicle with its headlights off was slowly driving through the neighborhood. The officer who responded to that “suspicious activity” call was the same one flagged down by the man who found the body, Foster said.

Investigators have no suspects in the shooting and have not determined a motive, Foster said.

At the time of his death, Rainer was facing a felony charge of residential entry and a misdemeanor count of resisting law enforcement, according to Allen Superior Court documents.

On July 2, a Fort Wayne police officer responding to a report of a home burglary in progress saw Rainer leave the house and run away. Rainer disregarded orders to stop and was later found in the bed of a parked pickup truck, court documents said.

The side door of the house that police saw Rainer leave had been kicked in, court documents said. Rainer told police he was trying to run from two men who wanted to fight him. His trial in that case was set for Feb. 20. In May, he entered a plea agreement on an unrelated case involving misdemeanor charges.

Rainer’s death was the fourth homicide in Fort Wayne and Allen County this year.

aingersoll@jg.net

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