Gunfight at Fort Wayne apartment complex sends bullets into homes; 1 dead, 1 in custody

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  — Five people were shot, one fatally, in an ordeal at a southeast side apartment complex early Saturday morning.

Police and medics were called at 12:41 a.m. to the Villages of Hanna apartments complex in the 1300 block of Greene Street on reports of multiple gunshots. When officers arrived on scene, gunfire was still ongoing, police said.

Jamarion Thomas. Photo courtesy of Allen County Jail.

According to police, multiple people were shooting. Officers ran toward the gunfire but were unable to locate any suspects.

Officers then began checking apartments in the area that appeared to have been struck by gunfire.

A woman was found suffering from a gunshot wound. She was taken to local hospital, where she died.

She was identified Monday as 29-year-old Candiace M. Lay of Fort Wayne. The Allen County Coroner’s Office said Lay died of a gunshot wound to the head and her death was ruled a homicide.

Another woman was hospitalized in life threatening condition, and two other woman suffered non-life threatening injuries.

A man was also shot, but suffered minor injuries. Police took him into custody on charges of aggravated battery. He was identified as 20-year-old Jamarion Thomas.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Thomas arrived at the apartment complex with two others, and Thomas walked to his apartment with a rifle. Outside of the apartment building, a group of people who were drinking in the parking lot yelled at him about having a rifle out around children, the affidavit said.

Thomas then went into the apartment building, but came back out and yelled at the group. A witness said a man then raised a handgun to shoot.

At that point, Thomas brought up his rifle and began to fire. One woman was struck in the chest, and she ran for a common hallway of an apartment building for cover and collapsed. Another woman was shot and was drug into an apartment, the affidavit said.

After Thomas ran out of ammunition, he went back to his apartment, the affidavit said.

Police found 30 spent rifle casings of a mix of calibers near an entrance to a building, several handgun casings in the street in front of a building, and more than 15 handgun casings in the parking lot.

In an interview with police, Thomas said he was in front of his apartment when “some guys just started to shoot at him,” the affidavit said. He said he returned fire in self-defense after he and someone with him were struck, the affidavit said.

Thomas said he knew he was “responsible for every round he fired,” the affidavit said.

Police said Lay was shot while she was in her apartment with a man. The man said they were in the front living room when they heard gunfire. The pair ran deeper into the apartment and the man said he looked back and say Lay collapsing to the floor, the affidavit said.

Police found an AR15-style rifle on the floor of Thomas’ apartment.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Fort Wayne Police Department at (260) 427-1201 or Crime Stoppers at 436-STOP.

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