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Robbery suspects to face federal charges

FORT WAYNE -- Two men arrested after a Nov. 13 robbery of a New Haven gun shop now face federal charges.

Brenton Ennis, 18, and Craig Whigum, 19, each face charges of robbery and using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. The criminal complaint was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne.

With Orlando Paschall, 21, and an unnamed 15-year-old boy waiting outside in a blue Impala, Ennis and Whigum went into Shooter’s, a firearms dealer at 660 Lincoln Highway West in New Haven, according to the complaint prepared by agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and other court documents.

Either Ennis or Whigum asked to see a firearm and when the store owner went to get it, the robber pulled his own gun and pointed it at the owner. The owner was identified in Allen Superior Court documents as Jerry Lyons.

A customer, identified in other documents as Kevin Schwartz, told police the other robber pointed a gun at him and demanded money and his car keys.

As Schwartz complied, the robber punched him in the face and knocked him to the ground. After Schwartz fell to the ground, the robber hit him multiple times and at some point the gun went off. Schwartz told investigators that he wasn’t sure if he had been shot. He was taken to a hospital with a concussion, a broken bone in his face and a cut on the back of his head that required staples to close, according to court documents.

Lyons’ own gun was taken from him by one of the suspects, as well as his wallet, which contained $1,200 in store money he was going to deposit at a bank. One of the robbers threatened to kill Lyons and threw him to the ground, according to court documents.

Ennis and Whigum fled the store with numerous handguns, three long guns and ammunition. They drove off in the Impala and Lyons called police, court records said.

After a chase and police-deployed stop sticks, the car crashed into a pickup truck at the intersection of Anthony Boulevard and McKinnie Avenue. Whigum, Paschall and the juvenile were taken into custody and Ennis fled.

With the help of his mother, Ennis later turned himself in to police Nov. 14, and told them where to find a gun still missing from the robbery, as well as the clothes Ennis was wearing at the time. The clothes had been dumped in the garage of a home on Lillie Street, court records said.

Ennis bonded out of the Allen County Jail after being arrested on a preliminary robbery charge but was picked up Friday on an intimidation charge after he argued with the resident of the home on Lillie Street where the clothes had been found, court records said.

Allen County prosecutors filed motions to dismiss the preliminary robbery charges against Ennis, Whigum and Paschall on Tuesday. The federal charges were filed Tuesday against Whigum and Ennis.

rgreen@jg.net

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