Victim’s mother grateful for FWPD detective work

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Fort Wayne detectives have a suspect in a 2015 homicide, thanks to help from the FBI and an eyewitness.

Donte L. Curry, 41, was charged Friday with Murder and Using a Firearm in the Commission of an Offense related to the shooting death of 26-year-old Harold Harrington, who was shot dead as he sat in a car outside his home in the 3200 block of Central Drive on Nov. 21, 2015.

Police and medics were called around 6:30 p.m. that day on a report of a shooting.

Neighbors across the street reported hearing gunshots and saw a person run eastbound in the alleyway, a probable cause affidavit said. Harrington’s mother, Lynette Scroggins, heard the shot inside the home and looked out to see his car lights on and the engine running.

Harrington was still wearing his earbuds when his mom found him.

The suspect was described as 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, with dreadlocks or wearing a “sock hat,” by a witness. That person said the suspect appeared to put a gun away after the gunshots, the affidavit said.

Ten days after the shooting, a FBI agent working with a confidential informant bought a gun from Curry for $800. The confidential informant reportedly told investigators that Harrington’s killing was possibly a hit, the affidavit said.

Testing on the 9 mm bought off Curry determined it was the handgun used to kill Harrington, the affidavit said.

In 2017, a detective interviewed a man at the Allen County Jail who said he and Curry were both members of the “C” gang. He said Curry told him he’d gone to buy marijuana from Harrington and shot him through the driver’s side door, according to the affidavit. Curry said he later sold the gun.

Fort Wayne Homicide Detective Brian Martin

The man said Curry told him someone paid him $5,000 to shoot Harrington because Harrington stole from him, the affidavit said.

Last year then, police received two letters, one from a witness who described the killing in the same way, and another from the confidential informant who identified Curry as the shooter. The informant said he was “a direct eyewitness to the shooting,” and said he purchased the murder weapon from Curry while working as a FBI informant.

Cold case homicide detective Brian Martin told WANE 15 that he and officer Cary Young have been pushing hard on this case for about a year.

“Somebody wanted to have him killed,” Martin said.

A warrant has been issued for Curry’s arrest.

Scroggins said she met with prosecutors about a year ago, but heard nothing else until Friday morning when Martin called her to let her know a warrant for Curry’s arrest was issued. The family has never heard of him, she said.

“At first I teared up,” Scroggins said Friday afternoon. “I got emotional and I just started thanking God because for six years, we had nothing. So today gave me closure.”

Lynette Scroggins, mother of victim Harold Von Harrington, with his daughter, Ma’riyah Link-Harrington.

That day, she and Harold were at home all day. Lynette had  been reading a book and working on her computer.

Around 6:30 p.m., Scroggins was up in her bedroom when she heard gunshots. She looked outside and saw his car was running with the lights on.

When she ran outside, the police pulled up making her think they’d also heard the multiple gun shots that killed her son. They held her back from going to his car.

The killer shot through the driver’s side window and Harrington had fallen toward the passenger seat. Lynette saw police pull her son out at the passenger side and lay him on the ground, she said.

Her message to other people agonizing as homicides become cold cases is to hang on.

Harold Von Harrington with his daughter, Ma’riyah.

“To other mothers, grandmothers, children  I would say just keep praying  Like I said, I had nothing. God made a way. I had no idea who killed my son. And the person who did it, I still don’t know who he is. I looked at his picture. I don’t recognize his name or picture. I don’t know him at all,” Scroggins said.

Memories also keep her going. She remembers Harold as her first child, her only son, the one she named after her father. She would take him to visit her dad and he’d put jazz music on for him, telling her that his grandson would be listening to some real music.

Her son’s first name was unusual for his generation, one that you just didn’t forget, she said. That’s one the reasons people remembered him, still to this day.

“Six years, people have been coming to me, telling me what a wonderful person my son is, how much they loved him. I’ve actually become a celebrity being Harold’s Mom. Everywhere I go, (they say) that’s Harold’s mom. People coming to where I work (say) Are you Harold’s mom? And I’m still getting recognition for being Harold’s mom. So he was truly loved,” Scroggins said.

Hugging her granddaughter Ma’riyah Link-Harrington, she talked about life after news that her son’s homicide is considered solved.

“When I go home, I will probably drop down on my knees and start praying , thanking God, but it just don’t make any sense.”