UPDATE: Autopsy results released in Elkhart drive-by

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The autopsy results have been released for an Elkhart teen killed in a drive-by shooting over the weekend.

This according to our reporting partners at the Elkhart Truth.

Braxton Barhams, 16, was gunned down Saturday in the 200 block of W. Garfield Ave., just southeast of downtown Elkhart.

Elkhart County's Deputy Coroner officially ruled the death a homicide on Monday afternoon saying Barhams died from a single gunshot wound in his left side.

Earlier on Monday, officers with the Elkhart Police Department informed Newscenter 16 that a juvenile was arrested in connection with the shooting. Since the suspect is under 18, his name has not yet been released.

A "shots fired" call originally led officers to the scene. Officers found Barhams with multiple gunshot wounds. He was found behind a wooden fence, where he’d reportedly run to escape the drive-by shooter. Barhams was taken to Elkhart General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Officers cordoned off a perimeter on Benham Ave., between W. Indiana and W. Garfield Avenues, as the homicide unit interviewed witnesses.

The tragic event left residents shaken and concerned for their safety.

"I think it's sad that a child just lost his life probably over something ignorant and stupid, and it's ridiculous," said Shanea Salls, who lives nearby.

"I have to raise my three kids here, and I have a 15-year-old, a 6-year-old and a 10-year-old," Sall added. "Just think - if we hadn't been swimming, we would have been outside, and they would have witnessed someone being shot."

"I just pray for the family and hope that we as a community can really come together," said Dionell Hill, another nearby resident. "It shouldn't take a tragedy for us to come together."

But, who was Braxton Barhams?

WNDU spent the day in Elkhart looking for that answer.

Some of Barhams' friends told say the motive here was over a teenage girl, while others say Braxton and the suspect police arrested got into a fight at school and this was retaliation.

Either way, watching the community come together to support this family and put a vigil together in less than 24 hours shows just how much this boy was loved.

“His older brother called me on the phone and said you need to come down here. Braxton has just been shot. I dropped everything and went running,” says Braxton’s dad, Kenneth Barhams.

For any parent, hearing your child is hurt its one of the hardest things.
For Kenneth Barhams it’s unbelievable

“I never thought I would be here today burying my 16-year-old son before I leave,” Kenneth continues.

Sunday, more than 100 people came together to remember Braxton at the same location where Saturday another teen took his life.

Many say Braxton was full of life, athletic, had tons of friends and to some, he was an inspiration.

“He stood up for what was right. He had a job, he was getting his life together, you know what I am saying, you feel me, and that inspired me. I was like, oh, this kid is getting it together to be only 16. He had just turned 16-years-old and for him to lose his life like that. That wasn't cool at all,” says family friend, Evon Henderson.

Unfortunately, many say this is not the first time this area has experienced gun violence.

“It’s always been an issue. Crime, crime anywhere is an issue. It ain’t never been this bad in Elkhart,” says some family friends who want to remain anonymous.

“There is nothing to do in Elkhart. There is nothing to keep these teens entertained and busy and off the streets,” says Competition Graphics Owner, Michelle Johnsen.

Michelle is one of those people that want to make something happen

“I am making two different types of decals. One of which is an in memory of decal that has Braxton’s name on it along with his date of birth and date of death, and I am also making a purple decal that says ‘Stop the Violence,” says Johnsen, “I will not rest until I see every vehicle in Elkhart with a Stop the Violence decal on it. It’s got to be done. There’s got to be awareness raised. We’ve got to come together as a community and do something to help these teenagers”.

“I was looking forward to his graduation. My greatest thing was when he comes across that stage and he gets that diploma and he is ready for the world. Now, I have been robbed of that. I won't be able to see that.

Violence is no stranger to W. Garfield Ave. in Elkhart. In Nov. 2012, Durwood Elliott III was found shot to death in an alleyway located in the 700 block of the same way. Elliott III's killing remains unsolved.

Residents hope Barhams' murder doesn't become another cold case, as police canvass city streets for a suspect vehicle.

If you want to buy those "Stop the Violence" decals contact Michelle at 574-350-8578 or you can email her at Competitiongraphics@gmail.com.

Decals are $10 and 70 percent of the proceeds will go to the Braham’s family.

A candlelight vigil will be held in the Concord High School parking lot, Thursday, June 27 at 7:30pm. Those attending are asked to bring their own candles.


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