FORT WAYNE – The shell casings were long gone, having been gathered up as evidence, and the shattered glass from the car window pierced by bullets the night before had been swept away.
Denise Trigg sat on the steps of her home at Abbott and McKee streets Friday, no more than 20 yards from where her son had been parked along the street Thursday night.
On this side of town, its survival of the fittest, she said. For a lot of these kids, this is all they got, and they wont let anyone take it away from them.
Theyre raising themselves. Its sad, but thats the way it is.
In shootings separated by 7 1/2 hours and a distance of half a mile, two men were gunned down in the citys south side Thursday night and early Friday.
And while Fort Wayne Police said there is no evidence so far to suggest the shootings are related, to Trigg they are indicative of some of the areas biggest problems.
Boys are buying into the so-called glamour of thug life, parents arent taking enough interest in their kids and not enough people are coming forward with information about crimes, she said.
Triggs son, 23-year-old Demarcus E. Adams, was a victim of one of the shootings, shot while sitting in a parked car just before 8 p.m. Thursday.
At 3:30 a.m. Friday, witnesses reported hearing gunshots and then seeing a man dumped out of a car in the middle of the 3400 block of Reed Street.
Police later found what detectives believe to be the suspected vehicle in that shooting after it crashed into some bushes at Colerick and Oliver streets.
What they dont have, like in the shooting of Adams, are any arrests.
He tried to get away. He tried to get out, but they wouldnt let him, Trigg said Friday while mourners gathered at her home to pay respects to Adams.
When I say they, I mean the street life, she continued.
Trigg was upstairs in her home when she received a text message from her son asking her to come down to his car to see him, she said.
She looked out her window, saw his car parked facing east along McKee, and then noticed a small black car driving west toward her son, she said.
Trigg turned her back for a second and heard what sounded like a firecracker. She heard six or seven more and thats when her instincts kicked in.
I just knew, she said Friday. A mother just knows.
A woman in her sons car was screaming by the time Trigg made it downstairs. Adams head was slumped back in the front seat. He had been shot in the face, Trigg said.
I held my child in my arms and the last thing I asked him is if he believed in Jesus, Trigg said. It was hard for him. He was choking on his blood, but I could see the look in his eyes.
I know no matter what he did, God forgave him and took him home.
Thursday night, Trigg looked into a television camera and implored for people to come forward. Its not snitching. Its not snitching, she said.
Friday, she reiterated that she wants people to come forward, even though she believes people on the citys southeast side do not trust the police.
She knows the feeling. There are some officers she doesnt trust, she said, but it shouldnt matter when lives are in jeopardy.
And someone who is willing to kill once will probably be willing to kill again, she said.
Its not snitching when it can save someones life, she said.
Trigg believes the death of her son stems from a feud between the MOB street gang and a group that calls itself the 2500 Block.
She described the 2500 Block as a group of people who grew up in the 2500 block of Caroline Street, a small side road connecting East Pontiac and East Suttenfield streets.
While he did not grow up on that street, Triggs son was friends with the group.
Nobody did anything illegal, Trigg said. They werent out dealing drugs or taking anything from people. They were just a group of boys who hung out.
Trigg said things escalated between the two groups with the shooting death of an 18-year-old man found in an empty lot on the southeast side last month.
Her son was soon a target, she said, and he was shot outside her home while taking out some trash in the middle of February, suffering non-life-threatening wounds.
These kids think the street life is so glamorous, she said. They dont think its glamorous to get a job. They think its glamorous to go out and rob someone or beat someone up.
As she was speaking, her sons daughter, 3-year-old Marianna Adams, peaked her head from inside Triggs home. The little girl with braids nestled right into her grandmother, looked down at an iPhone in Triggs lap and shouted, Bubbles!
Its a game on the phone the girl loves, one that Trigg plays with her.
She hugged the little girl and asked how she was doing. The girl smiled back. She had food all over her face – possibly icing or something sweet.
She doesnt know, Trigg says. I dont even know how Im going to tell her. For right now, hes out of town.
Late Friday afternoon, the Allen County coroner ruled Demarcus Adams death the eighth homicide of the year in Fort Wayne and Allen County.
He was a fun-loving person, Trigg said. I know he wouldve done amazing things. Now Im burying him. He didnt even make it to 25.
The coroner had yet to conclude an autopsy or release the identity of the man found in the middle of Reed Street.