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Police on South Bend shootings: 'We are going to stop you'

July 22, 2013|CHRISTIAN SHECKLER, South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — A pair of west-side shootings left a 29-year-old man dead and a female victim in critical condition in a span of 30 minutes Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

Homicide detectives also were investigating a third incident in which someone sprayed multiple gunshots through a busy residential area near the other shooting scenes, almost hitting a group of young children.

All three shootings happened within a few blocks of one another, and police are looking into the possibility that they were related.

“We have nothing significant to link all three of these together,” said Tim Corbett, commander of the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit. “Are we pursuing that as a hard lead? Yes.”

Metro Homicide detectives went to the 1300 block of North Huey Street about 11:30 p.m. Saturday after the 29-year-old man, Dominique Jackson, was reportedly shot in the neck or head as he drove his car north on Huey, police said.

Jackson was taken to a local hospital, where he died, said Lt. David Wells, assistant commander of Metro Homicide.

As homicide detectives investigated Jackson’s shooting, police responded to another shooting that left three people injured a few blocks southwest, near the intersection of Lincoln Way West and College Street, Wells said.

One of the people injured in that shooting, an unidentified female victim, was still in critical condition at a local hospital Sunday afternoon, Wells said. The other two had been treated for minor injuries. Wells said Metro Homicide was investigating the shooting because of the severity of the female victim’s injuries.

“Even if the person’s not killed outright, anytime it looks that way, we get called out,” he said.

Sometime about 2 p.m., police responded to multiple calls reporting shots fired at the intersection of Huey and Vassar Avenue. Someone sprayed at least a dozen shots, seemingly at random, including one bullet that whizzed past a group of small children playing a top a swingset and into a nearby house, Corbett said. A group of about 15 people was also gathered in a nearby yard at the time of the gunfire.

“Only by the grace of God did nobody out there get hit,” Corbett said.

Police could be seen marking numerous spent shell casings with numbered evidence markers along Vassar on Sunday afternoon. Wells said Metro Homicide assisted at the scene because of the possibility that the gunfire came in retaliation to one of the earlier shootings.

“Not knowing whether it’s related or some kind of retaliatory incident, we just wanted to go out and help SBPD tech the scene,” Wells said. “Since they’re happening in such close proximity to each other, we just wanted to cover our bases.”

Police had not made arrests in any of the shootings as of late Sunday afternoon. Wells said homicide detectives were conducting interviews with witnesses and working on developing possible suspects.

Corbett also indicated the shootings could have been gang-related.

“It’s safe to say the straightest avenue we have right now is it is gang-related,” he said. “That’s what we’re pursuing right now.”

"...we have already stopped one gang. And I am telling you right now we are going to stop you," he continued.

Witnesses said Jackson was driving northbound on Huey when he was shot, sending his car veering off the road and into a fence at 1318 N. Huey.

“It woke me straight up when he hit the fence,” said Betty Glassman, a next-door neighbor who called 911. “I didn’t know if he was drunk or had been shot until someone told me he was shot in the neck.”

Asked whether Jackson was shot by someone on foot or in another vehicle, Wells said investigators “have an idea of how the shooter was positioned” but would not release the details to protect the investigation.

If ruled a homicide, Jackson’s death would be the county’s fourth of 2013, including the June 2 police-action shooting of Edward Mwaura as Mwaura stabbed to death his 6-year-old daughter, Shirley Mundia.

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