An 18-year-old man was killed and another was seriously wounded in a shooting Tuesday afternoon on Fort Wayne's south side, pushing this year's number of fatal shootings even higher.
This one happened about 3:45 p.m. in the 3100 block of Smith Street, just east of Weisser Park, city police said.
Laura Williamson, who lives on the block, said she was inside, talking on the phone, when she heard gunshots ring out. She came outside and saw two wounded men in the front yard two doors down.
Williamson, 37, said one man was on the ground, unconscious, while the other man started telling her his version of what happened. He told her that the now-unconscious man tried to rob him and the two exchanged gunfire.
" 'This ain't my fault,' " Williamson said the man told her. " 'I got nothing to do with it.' "
Officer Jeremy Webb, a city police spokesman, could not confirm that the men were shot during a robbery attempt.
"At this time the circumstances surrounding the shooting are unknown and a motive is yet to be established," Webb said in a statement.
Medics took the unconscious man to a hospital in critical condition, and he later died, Webb said. The second man, who was conscious and talking, was taken to a hospital in serious condition, Webb said. That man was seen sitting calmly on a stretcher as medics wheeled him to an ambulance.
In the backyard of a nearby house, police found two handguns that are believed to have been involved in the shooting. Detectives searched the neighborhood for people who might have seen the shooting, but no witnesses were immediately found, Webb said. No arrests were made, and no information on a suspect was released.
Because the shooting occurred as children were coming home from school, police notified Fort Wayne Community Schools so school bus drivers were aware that Smith Street was blocked off. Williamson said a detective made sure her boys, ages 6 and 10, got home safely.
"I'm scared for my family. I'm scared for my kids," she said. "It's pretty devastating."
The Allen County Coroner's Office is expected to officially rule on whether Tuesday's shooting was a homicide. Not including that case, the coroner's office has confirmed that Fort Wayne and Allen County so far this year have tallied 35 homicides, which is five more than last year and a 15-year high.
Amy Custer, 51, who lives a few doors from the scene of Tuesday's shooting, said the violence has left her worried about her 1 1/2 -year-old granddaughter who lives with her.
"It's not even safe to let your kids out to play no more," she said. "It's just terrible."