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Saturday, 26 May 2012

Gangs blamed in killing driver caught in crossfire

08:53 |

David Wilson Jr. drove a tan Nissan down Spatz Avenue one night this month, never expecting the sounds of gunfire that would soon erupt throughout the neighborhood. Caught in the middle of what turned out to be a gunbattle – witnesses said more than 50 shots rang out that night – Wilson was hit at least once and died at the scene, becoming one of Allen County’s homicide victims. Fort Wayne Police Chief Rusty York said this week that Wilson’s death was probably the result of gang violence, but unusual this time because the 50-year-old city man was not a part of any gang. He wasn’t a target and neither was the 53-year-old man sitting in the passenger seat who escaped unscathed and the 30-year-old woman riding in the back seat who was also shot but survived. They were innocent bystanders in the wrong place at the wrong time. “That’s what it seems right now,” York said. There have been 14 homicides in Allen County this year compared to eight at this time a year ago, most of them shootings. York attributes many of the shootings to gang activity. And while they’re not necessarily organized on a national level here, such as the Outlaws or the Hell’s Angels, these gangs are still involved in illicit crime, including drug dealings and killings, he said. “These are violent people,” York said. “They’re involved in a lot of violence, typically against each other.” In the Fort Wayne Police Department’s annual report, the names of 25 gangs or cliques are listed as being active in the city. The report also notes a rise in Latin or Hispanic gangs. “We are seeing a rivalry for territory for the first time with an increase in Latin/Hispanic gangs,” the report said. Most other gang activity is not “territorial based or neighborhood controlled,” according to the report, but is instead based on drug dealing, drug distribution and other crimes. The department’s gang unit is working with limited resources, the report said. Goals for the unit are to increase the number of illegally possessed firearms it confiscates, the number of indictments handed out due to its investigations and get grant money for various projects. “The problem of gangs and criminal cliques will never be completely eliminated due to the underlying illicit crimes that they commit, and the high profitability these crimes can create,” the report said. There have been no arrests in Wilson’s death.

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