The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, February 23, 2021 1:00 am

Activists hint at bias in slayings

Group calling for thorough probe

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

A local social activist group is urging Fort Wayne officials to prosecute to the fullest extent possible the man accused of shooting three people last week.

ChangeMakers also wants the investigation to reflect the shooter's possible racial motivations. An email attachment was titled “Hate Crime” but that phrase was not included in the text of the news release.

The statement follows the Wednesday arrest of Joseph Bossard, 32, in connection with the shooting deaths of 19-year-olds Anderson Retic and Joshua Cole Cooper. The third victim of the Wednesday shootings, Jaylin Rice, survived.

Bossard is charged with two counts of murder and one count of aggravated battery posing a substantial risk of death.

Bossard allegedly shot the three men outside a Quick Stop gas station two blocks from his home on Laverne Avenue.

He was charged Thursday.

ChangeMakers, a local organization that advocates for equity and justice for the Black community, released a set of four demands:

• A fair and thorough investigation including full release of statements, interviews, records, video footage, recordings and 911 calls.

• An investigation that “reflects the fact that (Bossard) likely acted within his own racial bias.”

• That there be no plea deals offered.

• That Bossard be charged with two counts of murder and one of attempted murder and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“Community members are feeling anger and frustration with thoughts of the pain these families must endure,” ChangeMakers said.

“The community has been on heightened alert as we flashback to the recent white nationalist group that plastered 'hate flyers' on Purdue Fort Wayne's campus just after the Capitol insurrection.”

Although there is a federal hate crime law, Indiana doesn't have its own version. It's unclear whether federal charges would be brought in this case.

Fort Wayne police have not suggested a possible motive for the shooting.

Bossard is expected to appear in court today.

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