FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – It’s been more than three weeks since a beloved Fort Wayne barber was killed as she left the Fraternal Order of Eagles lodge on Bluffton Road with a friend.
Two men have been charged in her death, the result of work by the Fort Wayne homicide unit and forensic analysis of the lodge’s surveillance cameras and messages obtained from the duo’s cell phones.
The why is still missing, but it seems Diasha Renee Fitts, 39, was not the intended target of the bullet that killed her with a gunshot to her head.
It was possibly the driver of the silver Honda Odyssey, whose name has not been released.
David Turner, Jr., owner of the Above Average Barbershop where Fitts worked, said he never expected her to die like that and the shop has not been the same since she was killed.
“Twink was the life of the party. Anybody who walked in that door, she made them a friend,” Turner said. “She made them feel at home.”
Known as Twinkle Fitts and Twink The Barber on social media, Fitts worked with Turner when he opened his barbershop on Jefferson Boulevard about eight years ago. The barbershop is now on Pontiac Street.
Turner said he was a bit older than Fitts and knew her brother from the old neighborhood, though he went to Wayne High School and Fitts was a student at North Side High School.
“She was definitely one of the best barbers in the city. A lot of people like to say she was the best female barber, but I don’t like to limit her just as the best female barber. She was one of the best barbers, period, in the city. No doubt about it,” Turner said as he sat in his barbershop Tuesday.
Her memorial service was held Saturday at Come As You Are Community Church on South Anthony Boulevard, according to her obituary. Turner said the church was packed, so packed mourners couldn’t find a parking spot. Although her online obituary doesn’t mention family, Turner and the Fort Wayne Police Department confirmed Fitts had three children, two of whom were young adults and another, 13.
“It was the most crowded funeral I’ve ever been to,” Turner said.
Jacob Fields said he drops in for a cut at the barbershop every two weeks. Now everything “has definitely changed,” Fields said.
Before her death, there was an energy. “They always played ‘lit music. Then the energy just kind of dropped in the shop.”
As a member of the LGBTQ community, Fields said barbershops can be “hit or miss.” However, “she made me feel very comfortable.”
This week, two men were arrested and charged with her death. Demaury M. Haywood, 29, was charged with murder and using a firearm in the commission of an offense.
Devonte Craig Travier, 28, was charged with murder, methamphetamine dealing, resisting law enforcement and obstruction of justice, but he was not charged with using a firearm while committing the offenses, indicating he wasn’t the one to pull the trigger.
Both apparently worked in concert to track Fitts and her companion from the Eagles, where one of the suspects was following them around inside and then leaving to help orchestrate the shooting. The car Fitts was riding in was shot at Winchester and Lower Huntington Roads around 11:30 p.m. Feb. 19.
Fitts was taken to a hospital, where she died.
Surveillance video from the Eagles lodge shows one of the suspects sitting near or next to the victims, using his cell phone and leaving the lodge a minute before Fitts and the other victim, a man.
Turner said since her passing, “life has been a rollercoaster.
“One minute you’re thinking of the memories and you laugh. Then the next minute, you get a little down, you’re a little sad because she’s gone. When you work with somebody for eight, 10 hours every day, for seven years straight. It’s not like she’s a friend. It becomes more like a family member. So it’s definitely hurtful that she went that way because she was like a loving person.
“If you knew her, you loved her.”