Alleged shooter charged in November’s McClellan Street homicide

Crime

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The night Tremaine Barnett was killed, sitting in a red Jeep on McClellan Street, he and his killer shared a bottle of Casamigos tequila.

Fingerprints on the bottle connect Robert Dashon James, 33, to the Nov. 5 shooting death of Tremaine Barnett, 37, of Fort Wayne, found sitting in the driver’s seat of a red Jeep, according to a probable cause affidavit written by homicide detective Matt Cline.

James was charged Tuesday with murder after detectives from Fort Wayne Police Department homicide unit and vice & narcotics arrested James in South Bend Monday.

Barnett died from multiple gunshot shots to the head. An autopsy indicated the shots were fired within eight inches of Barnett’s head. FWPD investigators found $588 in James’ pocket and a plastic bag with apparent drug residue inside, court documents said.

Detectives also found two 9mm shell casings inside the Jeep where Barnett was still belted.

Robert Dashon James

Numerous communications took place between Barnett and James that Barnett referred to as “My dude from out of town.” One witness said he would not leave that night with Barnett and the unknown man because the unknown man made him “uneasy.”

Friday, a Crime Stoppers tip to the Fort Wayne Police Department indicated that James killed Barnett over a drug deal “and has been bragging about it,” court documents said.

Detectives tracked the night’s deadly activity from security camera footage in the 5300 block of McClellan where Barnett parked his Jeep around 10:45 p.m. when he was killed. Surveillance footage also showed a small, light colored two-door car arrive on McClellan shortly after 9 p.m. that was “very consistent” with a light grey Chevy Cruz seen on a street in South Bend belonging to the mother of James’ child, court documents said.

Barnett was also tracked on his Federal home detention GPS anklet. That information put Barnett arriving on McClellan at 8:20 p.m., but then he left.

In court documents, James blamed the shooting death on a guy named “Flex” who was in town from South Bend. James said he knew “there was a hit out on Barnett” and that he and Flex came to Fort Wayne for that reason.

James claimed that the two drove around with Barnett and made several stops, including to a bar and to meet with several people, court document said. James said he got out of the front passenger seat of Barnett’s Jeep and went back to his car. He said Flex was in the back seat and shot Barnett, court documents said.

After he drove away, he said he picked up his partner, Flex, who was on foot.

South Bend police told FWPD that James was a suspect in a South Bend shooting where 9mm shell casings were recovered and the 2017 Chevy Cruz was captured on camera at the time of the shooting, court documents said.

James is set to appear in court Friday.

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