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Shooting death is Allen County's first homicide

A shooting victim who came into a gas station looking for help died Friday night after he was taken to a hospital, the Allen County Coroner’s Office said.

Ryan Dwayne Turner, 45, of Fort Wayne, walked into the Sunoco station at Hanna and Lewis streets, announced that he had been shot and asked a clerk to call 911, city police said.

Officers and paramedics were called to the gas station east of downtown just after 9 p.m. Turner was taken to Parkview Regional Medical Center, where he was initially listed in critical condition but later died, authorities said.

Officer Chris Felton, a police spokesman, said Turner told the gas station clerk the shooting occurred somewhere around Hayden Street, which intersects Hanna Street a few blocks south of the station.

Police did not find evidence of a shooting in that area, and they are still trying to confirm where the shooting happened, Felton said. No arrests have been made.

Turner’s death was the city and county’s first homicide of the year, the coroner’s office said. There were 30 homicides last year.

On Saturday, family and friends gathered at the house of Turner’s mother, Sadie Turner. She described her son as a loving, generous man – not the type to make enemies.

“He doesn’t bother anybody, he just sit around laugh and talk with people,” she said. “For someone to kill him like that, it’s just not real to me.”

She said her son was born in Fort Wayne and went to live with his aunt and uncle in Alabama when he was 6 years old. He moved back after high school and had lived here since then, she said.

Turner was the fiancé of Tina Rothgeb, the mother of Paul Ward III, a 22-year-old man killed along with his cousin on Dec. 7 in a shooting near Milton and Hanna streets.

Rothgeb said Turner gave her strong support after her son died, hardly leaving her side.

“He really helped me with that. Now, he’s not here,” she said. “An all-out great guy, he will be truly missed.”

Rothgeb and Turner enjoyed traveling and had attended the Kentucky Derby eight times.

“We loved to go and watch the races,” she said. “He loved working on his truck, fixing it up, getting ready for the next trip.”

Turner was convicted of aggravated battery in 1994, prison records show. But Rothgeb and his mother said he had not recently been involved in criminal activity.

Turner’s cousin, Ebony Scott, said she cannot understand why her older cousin was killed.

“I just think he was in the wrong place at the wrong time ’cause I don’t think that was meant for him at all,” she said.

aingersoll@jg.net

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