A man has been arrested in the shocking Wednesday morning massacre of three children and one woman in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Cohen Bennett Hancz-Barron, 21, was arrested and charged with four counts of murder after being apprehended by authorities later that same day. Considered “armed and extremely dangerous,” by local law enforcement, a multi-agency manhunt ensued and the suspect was in custody by 5:00 p.m. after being discovered in another city.
Hancz-Barron was allegedly identified by friends and family as the likely culprit and was believed to have been driving a stolen pickup truck as he left the scene of the grisly grime, according to police.
“It’s a very gruesome scene in there,” police spokesperson Sergeant Jeremy Webb told local CBS affiliate WANE just after the unsettling discovery was made inside the house. “There are three murdered children. We need the public’s help to track down this suspect.”
A motive for the crime has yet to be established, but the aftermath of the quadruple slaying has shaken the community to its core.
Neighbors are describing the incident on the corner of Gay and McKee Street that left 3 children and a woman dead this morning as “sickening.” @wane15 pic.twitter.com/V7frM9TGjX
— Natalie Clydesdale (@NatalieC_TV) June 2, 2021
“I was sleeping and I heard screams and I heard the sirens get closer and closer,” one neighbor told WANE’s Natalie Clydesdale. “I don’t usually feel much but since it’s kids, it’s kind of sickening.”
Another neighbor recalled seeing “all these police cars and people screaming [and] crying.” She added that she struggled to define her feelings about the slaughter but said she was “disheartened.”
“A male, you know, did some violent type of stuff,” another neighbor said. “And it’s a shame that it happened to these little kids because kids ain’t did nothing to nobody. I never met them, never seen them, don’t know nothing about them, but they will be in my prayers.”
According to the Journal & Courier, community tips led the joint effort to an apartment complex in Lafayette, Ind., roughly 120 miles west-southwest of Fort Wayne. There, law enforcement arrived by roughly 4:45 p.m. and took Hancz-Barron into custody without incident.
The outlet photographed the suspect as he was being detained and reported that his hair had been dyed red and put up into a “man-bun.”
Prior to the killings, Hancz-Barron was wanted on an alleged probation violation. He is also suspected of stealing a 2010 Ford pickup with “RASHAD” plates and will likely be charged in connection with that alleged theft, according to Fort Wayne Police Sergeant. Chris Felton.
After being arrested, Hancz-Barron was transported back to Fort Wayne and booked into the Allen County Jail.
Details about the crime and the victims are currently scarce but police have described the children as “very young.”
The killings are believed to have occurred sometime between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Wednesday. Authorities are not currently clear on what the suspect’s relationship, if any, was to the four victims.
Family members released a terse statement to WANE asking for space and time to grieve their incalculable losses.
“This is a very devastating time for our family,” they wrote. “Please give us time to process the horrific events that have occurred today. Our daughter was a very special person to our family. Please be respectful of our family’s privacy at this time.”
[image via Tippecanoe County Department of Corrections]
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