FORT WAYNE – Just before a summer rainstorm broke loose in the city Wednesday afternoon, a man was severely wounded in a shooting on the southeast side. But when police showed up at the scene, he was gone.
Officers found blood in the front yard of a brick house at Lillie Street and McKinnie Avenue, but there was no victim to the shooting reported at 12:45 p.m., said officer Raquel Foster, a police spokeswoman.
A neighbor said she heard three gunshots and screaming, then looked down the block to see two men loading the victim into the back seat of a purple Chevrolet Impala.
"His body was, like, lifeless," said the neighbor, who asked not to be named to limit her involvement in the case.
At 12:52 p.m., the purple Impala arrived at Fire Station 11 at Rudisill Boulevard and Lafayette Street, a little more than a mile from the shooting scene at 4226 Lillie St. The victim received care there before medics took him to a hospital where his condition was downgraded from serious to critical, Foster said. The victim's identity was not released.
Witnesses told police the shooter ran south with a bag in his hand. A police dog picked up a scent, but it ended after about a block, Foster said.
Across the street from the site of the shooting, in the lot of Christ Church of Faith, police found what they believe was the shooter's hat, she said.
Not long after the shooting, the pastor of the church, Clarence Eldridge Sr., stood in front of the building. He had stopped by to see what all the police activity was about and learned of the shooting from a reporter.
"I wish I knew something because I'd like to see the police have the power to do something about it," he said. "There should be something that we can do."
The shooter remained at large Wednesday evening, and police had no word on a motive.