FORT WAYNE – They were gunned down within two weeks of each other.
The history between a pair of Allen County’s recent homicide victims, though, goes back much further.
And it’s entwined with at least one other shooting, accusations of drug dealing and an association with a former police officer.
It’s not clear whether the shooting deaths of 40-year-old Brandon Dock and 44-year-old Jovon Harvey are related.
But Fort Wayne police are considering that possibility as well as the possibility the killings are connected to others this year, officials said.
What is clear is that the two men lived amid crime and violence in their 20s but, if a perusal of court records is any indication, may have left that lifestyle behind more than a decade ago.
On Wednesday, city police found Dock dead on a sidewalk outside a barbershop on South Calhoun Street, across the street from South Side High School. The Allen County coroner ruled his death a homicide Thursday, the county’s 41st of the year.
Harvey, also known as Javon Harvey, was the county’s 39th homicide victim, having been shot Oct. 26 in the front yard of a house on Tillman Road.
The two men were linked to each other in criminal cases at least twice, the most prominent one involving former city police officer Gentry Mosley.
In 1997, Mosley was fired from the police force for helping two felons avoid being captured by his fellow officers.
Accusations surfaced that before his firing he organized a trip to Houston for Dock, Harvey, another man and two women.
In Texas, the group was to buy kilos of cocaine worth a total of $12,000. They would then sell those kilos in Fort Wayne for $28,000, according to court documents.
Allen County prosecutors charged each person within the group with conspiracy to deal cocaine.
Only Mosley would be convicted.
Later, Mosley would be charged and acquitted of murder in a nightclub shooting that left a man dead.
For the others involved in the Texas trip, the conspiracy charges were dismissed, except for the third man with Dock and Harvey. That man was later killed in a shooting.
Prosecutors dropped the conspiracy charge against Harvey after he pleaded guilty to two counts of bribery.
In that case, he was accused of trying to buy off investigators with the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office.
Prosecutors dismissed the conspiracy count against Dock after he pleaded guilty to criminal recklessness and pointing a firearm in a separate case in which he fired a shotgun at another man.
It wasn’t the only time he had been accused of pointing a gun at someone.
In 1994, he was charged with shooting another man in the leg.
In 1996, he was accused of pointing a handgun at Kulon Lewis, who would be eventually shot and killed in 2004 and who police described as being involved in several gang-related shootings until that point.
After one year of a two-year stint in prison for criminal recklessness in the mid-1990s, Dock wrote a letter to a judge asking that his sentence be cut short.
I have missed some of the most precious moments of my son’s life, said the letter, sent in 1996. I missed his first birthday, and missed him start walking. I feel I have learned a lesson and feel crime is not apart of my life.
Reached Thursday, his son declined to comment.
The alleged trip to Texas took place less than a year after that letter was sent. Two years later, both Dock and Harvey would be wrapped up in the conspiracy charges in that case.
The Mosley case, though, wasn’t the only time Harvey and Dock were connected in some way during a crime.
The other time Dock was a victim.
While driving Harvey’s Chevy Suburban in 2001, Dock was shot in the chest and hand by another man.
He was taken to a hospital in critical condition but survived, just as he survived another shooting a little more than two months later.
After Harvey was killed, his family told The Journal Gazette he was a changed man from his past.
They said he pushed his children away from the lifestyle he had led, became a church leader and organized events that benefited the community.
Yes, he made some mistakes. But my father was a great man, Harvey’s son, Jovon Harvey Jr., said in an interview with The Journal Gazette last week. My dad was wonderful.
It’s not clear what kind of life Dock lived, but his arrests became fewer after he was shot twice in 2001.
In 2002, he was arrested for possession of marijuana – a count that was ultimately dismissed – and drunken driving, for which he got a 1-year suspended sentence, according to court records.
He had another operating-while-intoxicated charge in 2008, leading to another suspended sentence.
After that: nothing.
Not until Wednesday, when someone decided to bring back the violence and crime that Dock had seemingly avoided for the past 12 years.
Archie Ingersoll of The Journal Gazette contributed to this story.