FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - Tips from the public, including the suspect’s own family, led to the arrest of a Gary man in connection with the fatal shooting of a Fort Wayne tobacco store owner, authorities said Wednesday.
Jamel Coleman, 22, faces preliminary charges of murder, felony murder and armed robbery causing death in connection with the April 7 shooting of Antonio Lopez Nino, 44, according to court records.
Coleman was being held without bond in the Allen County Jail. Online court records showed he did not yet have an attorney.
Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards, who announced the arrest during a news conference, said tips from the public were critical. He said they began coming in the day of the killing, after police released a series of surveillance photos to local news media. A probable cause affidavit said tips were provided by Coleman’s wife and his aunt, among others.
A critical break came Tuesday with a tip that Coleman was on a bus headed from Muncie to Indianapolis, said Greg Lewis, executive director of the Fort Wayne-area Crime Stoppers tip service. Police quickly arranged to have him detained in Indianapolis.
Fort Wayne police detectives began interviewing Coleman that evening, and he began talking about the crime after they let him talk to his wife on a phone, according to the affidavit.
Coleman, who had recently been living in Fort Wayne, said had been smoking marijuana and synthetic marijuana before going to the tobacco shop to rob Nino. The shop owner pulled out his own gun and began tussling with Coleman, but Coleman was able to tie him up with duct tape, the affidavit said.
“He stated that he then got Antonio Nino’s gun and shot Antonio with his own gun because Jamel’s gun was broken and did not work,” the affidavit said.
He then fled with Nino’s wallet, which contained $100 to $200, and threw the two guns into a river, police said.
A candlelight vigil for Nino outside his shop drew about 150 people.
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