(The Journal Gazette) The details seem fantastical, as if they were dreamed up on the set of a Hollywood action movie. But the real-life motive is simple.
That’s why someone with a handgun repeatedly fired upon an ambulance carrying a stabbing victim to a hospital from a northeast-side nightclub Sunday morning. That same person shot up the car trailing the ambulance, a car filled with the victim’s friends and family.
At least, that’s what a key witness told police.
Newly released court documents shed some light on what began as a fight inside Piere’s and turned into the brazen shooting along city streets.
Fort Wayne police have identified 24-year-old Traneilous L. Jackson as the one wielding the gun when shots from a white Ford Crown Victoria peppered the ambulance and a trailing black Chevrolet Impala while the vehicles sped down St. Joe Center Road.
Jackson has been charged with aggravated battery, criminal recklessness with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a felon.
The man who drove the Crown Victoria, 27-year-old Alfonso Chappell, later told police that Jackson wanted to avenge his brother, who he claimed had been stabbed by a man who was inside the ambulance.
Police released few details about the initial fight inside the nightclub, located at 5629 St. Joe Road.
Jermaine J. Loyall, 29, was stabbed just before 3 a.m. with a broken beer bottle. Police have not said who stabbed him, and court documents make only a passing mention of the stabbing.
Paramedics arrived at the nightclub, determined Loyall to be in serious condition and loaded him into the ambulance to take him to Parkview Hospital.
Two of Loyall’s family members and a friend then climbed into a black Impala to follow.
Soon, as both the ambulance and Impala passed the Towne House Retirement Community westbound on St. Joe Center Road, they were approached from behind by a white Crown Victoria.
Shots then began to ring out.
Inside the Impala, 27-year-old Latasha N. Loyall was hit 10 times all over her body, according to court documents. Lashanda Conwell, 31, was hit once in her forearm, and Domonic E. Loyall, 22, was also injured.
Police found the Impala in the area of Clinton Street and Washington Center Road, according to court documents, and had it pulled into a service station there.
The ambulance sustained at least 18 bullet holes through the driver’s side of its body and rear.
Glass shattered as its windows were shot out, and at least two bullets made it inside the ambulance.
Jeromy Yardon, a paramedic treating Jermaine Loyall, suffered injuries to his left arm and abdomen from flying glass, shrapnel and bullet fragments, according to court documents.
He posted X-rays of his arm on Facebook later Sunday with the message: “Yep I’m now officially hardcore.”
Another paramedic, Diana Lantz, and a firefighter driving the ambulance, Eric Ziegler, did not report any injuries, according to court documents. All three in the ambulance gave police a description of the Crown Victoria.
Minutes later, an Allen County Sheriff’s officer would spot it heading toward downtown.
In Chappell’s version of events, he was forced to drive the Crown Victoria and follow the ambulance and Impala against his will, according to the court documents.
He told police he was with people affiliated with the “M.O.B” street gang at Piere’s that night.
“Mr. Chappell told me that he is very scared of Traneilous Jackson and (another person) because of other shootings that they have done and the violence that they have inflicted on others,” wrote one detective in court documents.
Chappell said that after Jermaine Loyall was stabbed, Jackson and three others made him follow the ambulance.
They told him a woman had been beaten up inside the bar and was now being taken to the hospital, according to court documents.
Chappell spotted the ambulance on Washington Center Road and began to pull up to it in the left lane, he said. That’s when Jackson, in the front passenger seat, pulled out a gun.
“Mr. Chappell stated that he thinks that Traneilous Jackson fired approximately 14-15 times,” wrote a detective in court documents. “Mr. Chappell told me that he thought that the person sitting in the rear passenger side of the car was also firing at the black Impala and the ambulance.”
At some point after the shooting, Chappell decided to flee the area, he said in court documents. Jackson tried to get him to take the gun, he said, but he refused.
Chappell would later tell detectives that he had seen Jackson with the gun in the past and that he thought it was either stolen or had been used in other crimes.
Sometime after the shooting, unbeknownst to the others in the car, Chappell dialed 911.
Officer Tyler Harris of the Allen County Sheriff’s Department heard about the shooting over his dispatch radio while he was in his car near the county jail.
Judging by where the ambulance and Impala were heading and where the Crown Victoria was last seen, he figured there would be a good chance the car would be coming his way.
He positioned his squad car on the Clinton Street side of the jail and watched. It wasn’t long before he saw a white Crown Victoria heading south toward downtown.
Harris followed the car as it zig-zagged through a few downtown streets and waited for another squad car to join him before flipping on his lights and sirens, according to court documents.
Police chased the car through downtown until the car reached the intersection of West Jefferson Boulevard and Fairfield Avenue, where two men in the back seat of the Crown Victoria got out.
They were quickly apprehended by police.
One, an 18-year-old Fort Wayne man, was charged with a misdemeanor count of alcohol consumption by a minor. The other has not been charged with any crime connected to the shooting.
After the two men got out of the car, though, it continued down Fairfield Avenue.
Two off-duty Allen County Sheriff’s officers who were working a security detail in an unmarked car happened to be in the area and were also listening to the action over the dispatch radio.
These officers deployed stop sticks across the street in the 2200 block of Fairfield Avenue and waited for the Crown Victoria, which showed up quickly, according to police.
The stop sticks deflated the car’s tires. Still, it continued through the intersection of Creighton Avenue and Fairfield before stopping at Fairfield and Beechwood Drive, according to police.
The two sheriff’s officers approached the car and detained the two men inside, who ended up being Chappell and Jackson. Fort Wayne Police arrived on the scene and took the two men to jail.
Inside the car, on the driver’s side floor board, was a handgun.
Chappell calls 911
Of the four people inside the white Crown Victoria, Chappell was the only one who spoke to detectives.
According to court documents, he told police that immediately after the shooting, Jackson used his cell phone to call someone and tell whoever was on the other end:
“We flipped this car and tore up an ambulance.”
Police later confirmed that Chappell had called 911, as he said. Dispatchers only heard sirens and the sound of a man’s voice during the call. They could not determine what was happening.
After telling police that Jackson believed Jermaine Loyall stabbed his brother, Chappell picked Jackson out of a police lineup as the man who fired shots at the ambulance and Impala.
Police then arrested Chappell on a felony count of resisting law enforcement by fleeing in a motor vehicle.
The latest conditions of the women injured in the Impala were not immediately available, and neither was Jermaine Loyall’s condition after being stabbed.
Preliminary reports indicated that everyone would live.
Traneilous Jackson’s criminal history includes previous charges for carrying a handgun without a license, receiving stolen property, drug possession and battery.