Sig Sauer P365 XL found in St. Joe River is gun used in double homicide, forensic firearms expert testifies
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The chances of finding a gun in the river tied to a recent homicide is next to zero.
Yet, authorities say that’s just what happened last May when Stephen Meyer and his friends were kayaking on the St. Joseph River. Pulling ahead of his two companions, Meyer decided to drop his magnet down in the water and felt a tug. He pulled up a Sig Sauer P365 XL, only the second gun he’s ever found since he started this activity.
He called his neighbor, Officer Roderick Kirkland with the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, who discovered that the Sig Sauer was stolen out of Fort Wayne, not the county.
Not only did the Fort Wayne police come to collect it in no time, but the FWPD dive team went looking for more at a bend in the St. Joe close to Shoaff Park where an old pump station stands.
Just the kind of place for kids’ shenanigans, Meyer told WANE 15 when he related his adventure.
The Sig Sauer was one of the guns used to kill two teenagers at a garage at 740 Cumberland Avenue on Dec. 2, 2021 somewhere around 10:40 p.m. That was confirmed by Michelle Fletcher, a firearms forensic analyst with the Indiana State Police laboratory. Several of the 20 cartridges, or shell casings, tested from the crime scene matched that gun.
Tre Zwieg, 20, is accused of shooting to death Brendan Cole, 19, and his cousin, Juan Jose Ramirez, 16, luring the two roommates there to steal chains. On the stand, Fletcher said her tests revealed that three guns were used.
Then where are the other two? That question should be answered Friday when lead homicide detective Lucas “Luke” MacDonald takes the stand.
The prosecution presented photos and video of Zwieg posing and performing with guns, the barrel pointed right at the camera. Other photos from Zwieg’s cell phone showed the same Sig Sauer model police say Zwieg used during the crime. There were other photos of magazines and ammunition, and displays of guns.
That specific Sig Sauer was stolen from the glove compartment of a vehicle owned by Trevor Rainey who said he was living at The Arch on St. Joe Center Road on Oct. 4, 2021 when it was taken. The serial number of Rainey’s gun matched the Sig Sauer fished from the river, he said.
Another man who lived on Alta Vista Drive testified that he knew Zwieg and knew of Cole and Ramirez. On Oct. 28, he had two Sig Sauer 9mm guns stolen and an AR-15.
Thursday was a long day at the court, but perhaps the most interesting testimony came from a former inmate at the Allen County Jail who spent 92 days in the same block as Zwieg in the spring of 2022.
During the long, boring stretches of time there, the man got interested in Zwieg’s story after he heard he was charged with a double homicide.
“Here and there I would ask him things because I was curious,” the man told the court. He repeated the testimony of another that Zwieg believed his roommate had threatened his brother over a business dealing, although Chief Deputy Prosecutor Tom Chaille said in his opening arguments that Zwieg thought Cole had “cheated” him in unidentified business deals.
Zwieg’s ex-girlfriend testified Zwieg believed Cole and Jason Daltoso, the name on the lease of 912 Ridgewood Ave. where the two victims, Zwieg and Daltoso all lived, were plotting against him.
Apparently, Zwieg had a problem with the two roommates, whom he described to the former inmate as his best friends.
Zwieg told the him that he shot them nine times, then “shot them again.”
He further explained that Zwieg “left his cell phone at home so it wouldn’t pick up the hours.” Zwieg wanted the crime “to appear like a burglary and afterwards he went back to his house,” purposely leaving the garage light on.
Another detail the witness shared was that Zwieg “had concerns about what his girlfriend told police, and was afraid that she was the one who told on him.”
The former inmate did receive some mitigation for petty crimes he committed in Allen and DeKalb counties. At the top of his record are meth possession, resisting law enforcement and reckless driving, auto theft and burglary.
Defense attorney Gregory Fumarolo characterized that record as “crimes of dishonesty,” mentioning that homicide detective Brian Martin sent a letter “to clear up some things going on in DeKalb County.”
But the former inmate wasn’t moved by that. When he first contacted detectives, he wasn’t promised anything, Chaille said.
“No one wants to be a snitch,” the witness said. “But it really bothered me he didn’t seem to care. There was like no emotion.
“If something happened to my family, I would hope someone would say something.”
The trial starts its fourth day Friday at 9 a.m. Zwieg is charged with two counts murder, two counts of felony murder, burglary and using a firearm in the commission of a crime. After morning testimony and closing arguments, the jury will be sent to deliberate and return with a verdict.