Back in October, Tanner Dennis wrote on his Facebook page that he was battling schizophrenia and recently committed himself to a mental health treatment center.
“Whaddayaknow,” he wrote in the public posting. “I was diagnosed with schizophrenia and depression, and my symptoms are much better now that I’m on an anti-psychotic. I didn’t even tell my parents about it until a few days before I stayed at PBH. But, now I’m letting all of you know.”
A few months prior to that, he posted smiling pictures of his graduation day, surrounded by his family and friends.
A search of Allen County court records revealed not so much as a speeding ticket in his brief adult life.
But on Wednesday, the 19-year-old was found dead inside an apartment in Arcola, killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, according to the Allen County Coroner’s Office.
Dennis’ death was discovered by members of the Allen County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team who stood outside much of Wednesday afternoon, guns ready and sometimes pointed upward toward the apartment as they waited for whoever was inside to come out.
Whoever was inside was suspected of committing the armed robbery of an Aboite Township liquor store earlier in the afternoon, wearing a Grim Reaper mask and making off with cash and a bottle of booze before fleeing in a red truck just a few miles up the road.
The hours long standoff caused the lockdown of Arcola Elementary School and saw more than a dozen police cars and armored trucks lining the quiet center street. Fearing the possibility of gunfire, police roped off much of the town itself with yellow crime scene tape and even shuttled some students to their homes.
Thursday afternoon, Fort Wayne police officials said they were still investigating the robbery but felt there was a high probability the suspect was Dennis.
By Thursday evening, as news of Dennis’ identity as the person found in the apartment trickled out, friends posted remembrances on his Facebook page.
In his obituary, his family asked for memorial donations to be made to the National Alliance of Mental Illness.