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Frank Gray

There have been a lot of broad daylight shootings lately.

Fort Wayne killings come with such a casual attitude

About 6 o’clock Saturday night someone gunned down a man in the middle of Lewis Street near downtown in a brazen attack right out in the open, although one can argue that any killing is brazen regardless of where or how it happens.

Then about noon on Sunday, when many people were out enjoying what was likely to be one of the last pleasant weekends of the year, someone went gunning for someone on West Wildwood Avenue, in broad daylight, leaving one man dead in an alley.

That was the 38th killing, homicide, slaying, whatever you want to call it, in the city so far this year.

There have been a lot of broad daylight shootings lately. There was one on Rudisill Boulevard where a man stopped, got out of his car, shot a guy, got back in his car and drove off like nothing happened, never mind that there were plenty of people watching.

That is what is so stunning about so many of the killings that have happened this year: so many seem almost casual.

Meanwhile, people throughout the community are wringing their hands, scratching their heads, calling for community action, holding prayer meetings, looking for some kind of answer or solution to what’s going on.

It’s no surprise that a huge number of people are dumbfounded by what’s happening and unable to come up with a solution.

There was a story in Saturday’s paper about a man who was sentenced for a killing that happened in March. He’d gotten into an argument with another man over who had more “street cred” and decided the best way to win the argument was to shoot the guy. It was in the middle of the night, but it was also in the middle of the street with witnesses watching the whole thing, including one man who was looking out of a window while he got ready for work.

The shooter was sentenced to 65 years in prison which, according to the news story, outraged his family.

He was a good guy, they had told the court earlier, a good father to his five children, a role model, obedient, respectful, wouldn’t hurt a fly. So he killed a guy. Give him a break.

You wonder whether they’ll say the same thing when he goes on trial for allegedly gunning for one witness.

That’s our problem, I think. It actually appears that to some people, killing someone isn’t that big a deal.

Human life has come to the point in some quarters where it has little, if any, value. As they say in the mob movies, “It’s just business.”

That, to me, is the only way you can explain the casualness and indifference that killers are displaying in this city.

You can’t help but wonder, how do people learn this attitude toward life? Did they learn it from gangster movies? Or were they taught it by their families? Did they learn it on the streets they chose to roam? Or did anyone bother to teach them anything at all?

I think of the man who was sentenced last week to 65 years for murder, and the family who fawned over him before the court.

I wonder what his five children have learned from their father, and what they will learn in the future from what is left of their families as decades go by and they know their father is in prison for what the judge called an absolutely stupid killing.

Frank Gray reflects on his and others’ experiences in columns published Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached by phone at 461-8376, by fax at 461-8893, or by email at You can also follow him on Twitter @FrankGrayJG.