FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – They thought they had bought meth.
When they realized what they were sold was merely salt, they went looking for the man who dealt to them in order to get their money back.
And they went armed.
A faux drug deal led to a bungled robbery-turned-shootout inside a St. Marys Avenue home this past Friday morning, leaving one man dead and three people wanted in the killing – two of whom were caught after leading Fort Wayne police on a vehicle pursuit with speeds reaching 100 mph.
That’s according to newly released Allen Superior Court documents detailing the death of 28-year-old Travis Gilbert and the arrests of three people who are now in custody and facing charges in connection to his death.
A deal between Gilbert and two others – 36-year-old Royal Davis Jr. and 29-year-old Jessica Fuentes – may be at the heart of the killing, according to court documents.
Davis and Fuentes were looking to buy methamphetamine, and they used a man identified as 28-year-old Robert Ward to set up a $300 deal between them and Gilbert, court documents said.
Ward and Gilbert exchanged social media messages late this past Thursday trying to facilitate a deal, according to court documents. After some negotiation in the messages, Gilbert met Ward, Davis and Fuentes at a local gas station where the deal went down, court documents said.
The three then left Gilbert and retreated to a Hoagland Avenue apartment. That’s where they discovered that Gilbert likely sold the pair salt or some other non-narcotic that resembled methamphetamines, Ward would later tell investigators in court documents.
“(Ward) stated they were mad and realized that the dope, ‘ice,’ that they paid $300 for from (Gilbert) was fake and they wanted to get their money back,” a detective wrote in court documents.
Ward admitted to detectives in court documents that the saw Fuentes and Davis were armed with guns while at the apartment. The three went to a local strip club frequented by Gilbert in order to confront him about the deal and to get their money back, court documents said.
When they walked into the club, though, they saw Gilbert slip out and get into a blue car, Ward told investigators.
Ward and Fuentes – along with a woman who has not been charged in the crime – climbed into a Hyundai Sante Fe while Davis rode a moped and followed Gilbert to his home. Once there, Davis and Fuentes went inside to confront Gilbert.
In the home, Gilbert was sitting on a recliner while his father, Steven Gilbert, was asleep on a couch. Travis Gilbert’s mother, Melinda Gilbert, was also inside the home when Davis and Fuentes made their way inside.
Donning a helmet to cover his face, Davis is accused of demanding $500 from Gilbert while holding a gun to his head. He’s also accused of hitting Gilbert with the gun and threatening to kill him and his family members, according to court documents.
Striking Gilbert, though, caused Royal to drop his gun, according to court documents. When he bent over to try to pick it up, his helmet fell off and the gun somehow slid over to Gilbert’s father.
When Gilbert’s father picked up the gun, he told investigators in court documents someone else began shooting.
That’s when he began firing back, he told investigators.
In an interview with WANE 15 last week, Steven Gilbert described what happened inside the home as his son was struck with the gun and the gun fell to the floor.
““The guy got so mad, he hit him in the head as hard as he could with a gun and knocked him to the ground. You could hear his head from the gun,” Steven Gilbert told WANE 15. “I had no choice but to go for the gun to gain control of it. So, he was coming at me and I knew if he got it before I got it, we were (sic) all going to be dead.”
Steven Gilbert estimated in his interview with WANE 15 that 18 to 20 rounds were fired in the home as gunfire was exchanged. Steven Gilbert was shot in the leg during the exchange and chased Davis and Fuentes out a back door.
Travis Gilbert, having been knocked out by the blow to his head, regained consciousness and headed to the back door himself. As he ran out the door, more rounds were fired, with at least one striking him in the chest, according to court documents.
“Travis, you’ve been shot,” his father said to him, according to Steven Gilbert’s interview with WANE 15.
“No, I’m not, no I’m not,” Travis Gilbert replied, according to his father’s interview.
Steven Gilbert remembered his son beating his chest, he told WANE 15, and lifting up his shirt to reveal a large amount of blood.
By the time medics arrived, Steven Gilbert was holding his son in his arms, court documents said.
“I love you,” Steven Gilbert remembers his son saying as he died.
In a short time, investigators at the scene found a fingerprint on the helmet left at the home as belonging to Davis. They also traced the moped parked outside the home as belonging to Davis – according to court documents, several items with Davis’s name were stored inside the seat of the moped.
After the shooting, Davis and Fuentes ran out of the home and hopped into the Hyundai, which was being driven by an unidentified woman with Ward in the back seat. Ward would tell investigators in court documents that Davis was telling Fuentes they needed to change clothes.
At some point, the group split up, though when that happened is not detailed in court documents.
Once investigators zeroed in on Davis, officers with the Fort Wayne police vice and narcotics units as well as the gang and violent crimes division set up surveillance at a home where they watched Davis and Fuentes – along with another man – load up personal belongings into a Hyundai Sante Fe.
Davis and Fuentes then began to drive away, not knowing they were being watched. At about the same time, the man who helped them load the car yelled to another person, “They are after my guy, he did a shooting,” court documents said.
A Fort Wayne police detective would later have a phone conversation with this witness, who said Davis confided in him that he had just shot someone recently. This witness said in court documents that Davis was “beat” out of some money, and when pressed by the detective the witness said it was $300.
Shortly after trying to drive away, Fort Wayne police tried to make a traffic stop on the Hyundai driven by Davis with Fuentes in the passenger seat.
Davis is accused of refusing to stop and leading officers on a chase where speeds reached 60 miles per hour on Rudisill Boulevard near McKinnie Avenue, 75 mph on Pettit Avenue near Paulding Road and then 100 mph on Clinton near Tillman Road.
At various times, the Hyundai crossed lanes into oncoming traffic and then back again, according to court documents.
The chase ended when the Hyundai struck another vehicle near the Interstate 469 exit. A man in that vehicle suffered a head injury that caused pain and bleeding as well as a strain to his right hamstring, court documents said.
Davis is accused of exiting the driver’s side of the vehicle and running along a ditch and then into some woods, where he was taken into custody. Fuentes was also arrested at the scene, court documents said.
Davis is being held at Allen County Jail without bond and is facing the following preliminary charges:
- Felony Murder
- Attempted Murder
- Resisting arrest
Fuentes is also being held without bail and is preliminarily charged with the following:
- Felony Murder
- Attempted Murder
Ward is facing a preliminary count of robbery and is being held on $25,000 bond.
Fuentes, Ward and Davis are all due in court Thursday.