Police had gunman in custody just days before he shot two women
Posted: Aug 12, 2011 3:08 PM EST | Updated: Nov 6, 2014 6:47 AM EST
South Bend, IN. - Police had gunman in custody just days before he shot two women
An ABC 57 News investigation into a double shooting in South Bend uncovered that the suspected trigger man was a teenager who was in police custody before the shooting.
Early last month a group of teens took South Bend police on a high speed chase in a stolen car. Police say on Sunday night one of those teens shot one victim on Sheridan Street and then moments later shot the other victim on Wellington Street.
The police did not have any information on why or how the teen was able to leave police custody. However, police did confirm that the gunman is 15-year-old Charles Johnson.
He was a passenger in that stolen car and was let go by police. Now police cannot track him down.
According to police reports obtained by ABC 57 News, last month a man reported his black Dodge Durango had been stolen while he ran inside the laundry mat.
A short time later, that man says he saw four teens sitting in his car at Lasalle Park Homes in South Bend, and called police. Police confronted the teens at the apartments but then the teens bolted, sending police on a high speed chase along Western Avenue.
The pursuit lasted several minutes starting at the apartments on Falcon Street and ending a few miles away at the intersection of Western Avenue and Walnut Street.
Police say all four teens were taken into custody. Three of the juvy's were released to their guardian. The fourth? Believe it or not, 15-year-old Charles Johnson.
He just walked out of juvenile detention. His father's in jail and police says they cannot find his mom. So, police just put the teenager back on the streets with no adult supervision.
The Juvenile Justice Center does allow 17-year-olds to sign their own release if they promise to appear in court, but Johnson is only 15-years-old.
Now neighbors in the community where the shootings took place say they are concerned and angry that Johnson somehow fell through the cracks.
"It makes me feel insecure. It makes me feel like they aren't doing their job," says neighbor Jamie Fonseca.
ABC 57 tried to contact the Juvenile Justice Center to find out exactly how Johnson got released.. But no one returned our calls. ABC 57 News also talked to the prosecutor's office and a spokeswoman says there are a number of factors that could have contributed to Johnson's release.
ABC 57 is still trying to determine if the charges against the teens have been dropped, or if the teens will still need to appear in court. Wen contacted the prosecutor's office did say that they will look into the case further.