You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Courts

Advertisement

16-year-old is charged with felony murder

Role alleged in robbery try where friend shot to death

– Sixteen-year-old Omar Ruffin faces a felony murder charge along with an attempted armed robbery charge for his role in a crime that left his friend dead.

Ruffin, of the 4000 block of Oliver Street, is charged as an adult because of the seriousness of the crimes.

In Indiana, teens 16 and older are automatically charged as adults for crimes such as murder, kidnapping and other violent offenses.

The charge of felony murder accuses Ruffin of participating in a crime in which someone was killed, in this instance 18-year-old Jaqueze Dandridge.

And court documents filed Tuesday detail a violent encounter between Dandridge and the man who fatally shot him near the intersection of West Packard and South Wayne avenues.

According to court documents, Stuart Heath and Kyle Hagerman were sitting on the porch of a home about 11 p.m. June 1 when Ruffin and Dandridge were walking in the area looking for someone to rob.

Spotting the two men on the porch, Ruffin and Dandridge sneaked around from the back of the house and attacked them on the porch, according to court documents.

Dandridge put what was later determined to be a pellet gun against Heath’s neck, pulling him around to the east side of the house. As Heath yelled for help, Dandridge told him to quit yelling or he would kill him, court documents said.

Heath had a handgun tucked in the waistband of his pants but couldn’t readily get to it, according to court documents.

Heath told police he believed Dandridge would shoot him, then go into his house and rob him. His two children were inside, according to court documents.

As the two men struggled, they ended up on the ground and Heath was able to get to his handgun and shoot Dandridge three times, according to court documents.

As Dandridge was pulling Heath around the house, according to court documents, Heath saw Ruffin grab Hagerman around the throat and push him backward.

Ruffin covered his hand with his jacket and started to turn the door handle, which was locked. At that moment, they heard the gunshots, and Ruffin took off running and Hagerman kicked in the door to get inside and protect the children, according to court records.

He told police he believed Heath had likely been shot. Hagerman went inside, locked the children into a room and grabbed another gun.

Then Heath came up the stairs and told Hagerman to call the police, court records said.

On June 2, a family member of Dandridge’s called the police and said he had some information about the robbery. The man said he learned Ruffin was with him, according to court documents.

The Fort Wayne Police Department’s gang unit brought Ruffin in for questioning, along with his parents.

Ruffin told police Dandridge needed money and asked Ruffin to come with him when he robbed somebody. They picked Heath and Hagerman at random, according to court documents.

Ruffin admitted he knew they were going to rob someone, but he insisted it was Dandridge only who did anything, according to court documents.

No charges have been filed against Heath.

rgreen@jg.net

Advertisement