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Police: 15-year-old boy shot dead was not a random act

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EUCLID SHOOTING 2 19 2020
EUCLID SHOOTING ALLEY 2 19 2020

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) -- A teen was shot and killed after being ambushed in a Fort Wayne alley.

"I don't know how we continue on this trajectory involving our youth. Something has to give, here," FWPD Sgt. Sofia Rosales-Scatena says.

Just after seven Wednesday night 15-year-old Eric McDonnell, Jr. was beaten and shot in an alley off McKee behind Euclid Avenue on the city's southeast side.

He was rushed to the hospital and into emergency surgery, but didn't survive.

Just after seven Wednesday night 15-year-old Eric McDonnell, Jr. was beaten and shot in an alley off McKee behind Euclid Avenue on the city's southeast side. He was rushed to the hospital and into emergency surgery, but didn't survive.

"We've seen the violence kind of on an upswing involving juveniles, and it doesn't seem like it's getting any better," she says.

Rosales-Scatena says it's too early to tell at this point in the investigation whether this shooting is related to others earlier this year that involved teens.

However, she says detectives do not think this was a random act.

While investigators do have video from some neighbors that shows what happened, police are asking for for doorbell or other security video from anyone else who may have caught something out of the ordinary.

She says officers are doing what they can to keep the community safe including taking more than 900 illegal guns off the street last year.

But she says if anyone -- including a teenager -- wants a gun, they're not hard to get.

"A lot of those were stolen. They're stolen out of cars, people leaving guns in unlocked cars easily obtained that way, and then they're just sold on the street for maybe $50, $75. It's not difficult to get your hands on one if you really want to," Rosales-Scatena says.

She says the worst part of an officer's job is having to knock on parents' doors to tell them their child will not come home again after a crash or anything else.

"Even to make the notification that your son or daughter has been involved in some kind of shooting or something like that, that's even difficult, but to sit there and go through the emotions that a parent goes through as you're sitting there as a parent yourself, it's hard. It's the worst part, for sure," she says.

Eric McDonnell, Jr. Is Allen County's fifth homicide victim of the year.

If you have doorbell or other security video or you know something about this case call the Fort Wayne detective bureau at 427-1201.

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Detectives say the shooting that left a 15-year-old boy dead overnight was not a random act.

The Allen County Coroner's Office identified the teen as Eric Ray McDonnell Jr.

Just after 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, detectives found the boy lying in the alley between Euclid Avenue and Central Drive.

Medics rushed him to the hospital in critical condition, but he later succumbed to his injuries.

He died from a gunshot wound, and his death has been ruled the 5th homicide in Allen County this year.

"Having to make those death notifications to family is the worst part of this job," Fort Wayne Police Public Information Officer Sofia Rosales-Scatena said.

"Our hearts and sympathy do go out to the family of the victim."

The crime was reportedly caught on camera.

A neighbor told ABC21 that two people hid behind a vehicle, jumped the teen, began to beat him, shot him, and then took off.

The surveillance video is now in the hands of detectives.

If you have home surveillance video from the 2800 block of Euclid Avenue or witnessed this crime, police are asking you to contact the Fort Wayne Police Department at (260) 427-1222 or Crime Stoppers at (260) 436-7867.

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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