Shooting in Elkhart leaves one dead

Neighbors recount Tuesday night shooting on Garfield Avenue.
Posted on Nov. 22, 2012 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Nov. 22, 2012 at 2:14 a.m.

ELKHART — Durwood Elliott Jr. wants answers. He wants to know what happened Tuesday night that led to his 25-year-old son’s death.

“I just don’t want to believe he’s dead,” he said.

Elkhart Police Department was called to the 700 block of West Garfield Avenue around 10 p.m. where they found Durwood Elliott III unresponsive. He was taken to Elkhart General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead of an apparent gunshot wound, according to Lt. Laura Koch of the Elkhart Police Department.

She said detectives are treating the death as suspicious.

Maria Delgado, who lives on the 700 block of Garfield Avenue, said she was taking the trash out around 10 p.m. Tuesday when she saw a man walking down the alley near her house, coming north from Cleveland Avenue. She said she heard him yelling for help and ran to assist him. Delgado said she could hear was trying to talk but that he was losing consciousness.

She called 911 and knocked on the window of her neighbor, Lee Varnado, to ask her if she knew the victim.

“She came over and asked me if it was my son,” said Varnado.

Varnado said she walked around her house to find a young man man lying just feet away from her residence.

Neither of the neighbors heard gunshots that night.

“I put my phone over him to see him better. There was blood gushing from his side,” she said. “My son came and helped apply pressure trying to stop the bleeding.”

Varnado said she had seen the victim and his father walking down the alley before, collecting cans. She said she thinks he started walking toward her house because they had talked before.

Durwood Elliott Jr. walked down the alley Wednesday morning, backtracking the steps of his son, trying to look for an answer, a lead, that could help police find a suspect. He said he last saw his son five minutes before the shooting.

Both neighbors and the victim’s father spoke of a truck that was Durwood Elliott III’s. They say they think the victim got off the truck and ran down the alley seeking help. They said the truck has not been found.

An autopsy is scheduled for today, Nov. 21.

Varnado said her emotions got over her last night, thinking about how young the victim was — as young as her children — and how close it happened to the holidays.

She said she had heard gunshots before around the neighborhood, and she knows the alley near her house is unlit and dangerous at night.

“That baby is not old enough,” she said. “I pray that they find whoever did this.”

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