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Suspect in fatal shooting in Dowagiac arraigned, charged with murder

CASS COUNTY, Ind. -- The suspect in the fatal shooting in Dowagiac early Sunday morning was arraigned Monday afternoon.

Rolandis Russell, 24, was formally charged with first degree murder, assault with intent to murder, carrying a weapon with unlawful intent, possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, and felony firearm, according to the Cass County Prosecutor's Office.

According to the investigation, there was an altercation inside the Beeson Street Bar that continued in the parking lot.

The suspect allegedly got an AK-47 from his vehicle and fired 12-15 shots.

Fabian Wesaw, 42, was shot and killed. Police say Wesaw was not the target. Police said Russell fled, but was caught and arrested.

"It's terrible. You go out to enjoy yourself and next thing you know you're shot and killed," said Karen Bauer, a lifetime resident of Dowagiac. Bauer said that violent shootings, like the one that happened early Sunday morning, are not normal in Dowagiac.

Chief Steve Grinnewald of the Dowagiac Police Department says Wesaw was in the group of people that Russell allegedly shot at, but that Wesaw was not believed to be a part of the altercation itself.

"We're attempting to locate any video that may have been out there," said Chief Grinnewald. "[We're] attempting to locate any further witnesses or anybody that we may not have spoken with."

Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz says denying Russell bail was a necessary step to keep the Dowagiac community safe.

Fitz called the AK-47 Russell allegedly used in the shooting a "weapon of war" in open court.

"For us, protection of the public is paramount. Dowagiac is a safe, secure city, and we want to keep it that way," said Fitz. "Obviously, there was a terrible episode that happened [in the early hours of Sunday] and we want to ensure that type of thing does not occur again."

Russell is due back to appear in court on August 9.


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