Man charged in fatal University Park Mall shooting; not in custody

Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 12:07 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Dazhon A. Howard has been charged in connection with the fatal shooting at University Park Mall.

Howard, a 21-year-old from South Bend, is not in custody.

WANTED: Dazhon A. Howard, 21, 5'8", 160 lbs.
WANTED: Dazhon A. Howard, 21, 5'8", 160 lbs.(St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office)

Police describe Howard as a black male, 21-years-old, 5′8″ tall, and 160 lbs.

According to the charging documents, investigators say Howard was at University Park Mall with some friends when he and Crosby got into an argument.

The documents explain that a witness who was with shooter, claims the argument was sparked after Crosby allegedly began calling them names and then asked if they wanted to “take it outside.”

The two sides continued to argue as they walked through the mall when witnesses say Crosby allegedly flinched at Howard, but never showed a gun. That’s when Howard, who was wearing an orange hooded sweatshirt at the time, can be seen on surveillance pulling out a handgun from a black backpack, and began shooting Crosby several times with his back turned, before running away.

Documents say police arrived on scene a short time after and found Crosby shot to death where Howard pulled the trigger.

Among things recovered from the scene were: (1) bullet casings found next to Crosby’s body, (2) the black backpack with a (3) semi-automatic handgun found just outside the mall, and (4) the orange sweatshirt Howard was believed to be wearing at the time of the shooting in the mall parking lot.

After gathering all the evidence, reviewing store surveillance footage, and interviewing witnesses, prosecutor’s charged Howard with Murder (45-65 years) and Felony Firearm Sentencing Enhancement (5-20 years) on Thursday.

Howard was also reportedly the victim of a shooting more than two years ago. Howard was shot in the face in the area of Elmer and Keller streets in South Bend back on March 22nd, 2018. He was 19-years-old at the time. Jermaine Newsome was arrested in that shooting. Newsome has also been involved in several other shootings including in 2015, when he broke into an apartment and shot a man.

If found and convicted, Howard could be facing up to 85 years in prison.

Again, Howard is not in custody and police need help locating him. If you have any information about his whereabouts, you are asked to call County Metro Homicide at 574-235-5009 or CrimeStoppers at 574-288-STOP.

The charging documents are below:

From a transcript from the charging documents:

Detective Sean Killian, being duly sworn upon his oath, says that:

I am an Indiana Law Enforcement Officer of the South Bend Police Department, currently assigned as an investigator with the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit, St. Joseph County, State of Indiana, and make this affidavit after conducting my investigation and reviewing the work of my fellow officers.

That facts which form the basis for the belief that there is probable cause to believe that DAZHON A HOWARD has committed the crime(s) of Count 1: Murder, a Felony, and the Felony Firearm Use Enhancement are as follows:

On September 12th, 2020, at about 2:46 PM Mishawaka Police were dispatched to the University Park Mall, Mishawaka, St. Joseph County, Indiana for a shooting. When officers arrived they ultimately came upon a man down inside the mall. The man was declared dead and had apparent gunshot trauma. The victim was identified as Delaney Crosby, age 23.

Many Video clips were gathered off social media sites and store surveillance systems. Some of these clips showed a single shooter, a younger black male dressed in an orange hooded sweatshirt. Just prior to the shooting, the shooter and his company had been in a verbal altercation with the victim and his company. The shooter had been holding a black backpack from which he drew the handgun. The shooter concealed his draw by ducking behind his friend in a black sweatshirt. The shooter came from behind his friend and pointed the gun only at the Victim. The victim ducked and the shooter began firing, firing several shots at the victim and only the victim. The victim fell where he stood, and everybody else ran away. The victim is not seen making any threatening moves in the several seconds leading up to the shooting, and the man with him dressed in red is holding a shopping bag in one hand, and holding his pants up near the crotch with the other.

Near the victim, several spent shell casings were recovered. Just outside the mall, the black backpack was recovered. Inside the backpack was a semiautomatic handgun. An orange hooded sweatshirt was also recovered from the parking lot.

A witness from the mall identified a certain young lady, C.D., as one of the members of the shooter’s party. Police interviewed C.D. who explained that she had gone to the mall with her boyfriend and 2 small children, as well as the shooter, whom she identified as Dazhon HOWARD by name and picture. C.D. had known HOWARD for some time as he had grown up with her boyfriend. HOWARD was wearing a bright orange hoodie. C.D. explained that they went to the mall to exchange some shoes and that while they were doing so they saw Crosby, who called their company a derogatory name. Crosby then asked if they wanted to take it outside where he, “Had something for y’all.” The two sides continued to argue back and forth as they walked through the mall. C.D. stated that Crosby never displayed or reached for a weapon, but she thought that maybe Crosby’s friend was, “clutching,” or grabbing at his clothing as if there were a weapon concealed therein. C.D. said Crosby flinched at their group like he was going to do something, and then Dazhon HOWARD drew the handgun and fired at Crosby, hitting him several times. HOWARD’S was the only gun she saw during the whole episode. C.D. said that they all ran, and got into the car. On the ride home, she yelled at HOWARD, asking him, “What’d you do that for?”

Police interviewed D.P. who has been friends with Dazhon HOWARD for many years. D.P was at the mall with HOWARD and others. D.P. also tells of Crosby saying that if the group wants to step outside he’s got something for them, and that the man in red with Crosby appears to be clutching. D.P. had his back turned to HOWARD when HOWARD drew the pistol and began firing. D.P. said his reaction was surprise, asking himself, “What is going on?” D.P. expressed that he can not be pulled into criminal conduct because his family needs him. He immediately stated that HOWARD’S family needs him, too, "...but he did this dumb a** sh**, man.

From the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office:

St. Joseph County – Today the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office charged Dazhon A. Howard, 21 of South Bend, in connection with the September 12, 2020, fatal shooting of Delaney Crosby at University Park Mall, Mishawaka. He is charged with Murder and a Felony Firearm Sentencing Enhancement.

Probable cause was found and an arrest warrant issued. He was ordered held without bond.

At the issuance of this release, he has not been taken into custody.

Law enforcement is asking for assistance in locating Dazhon Howard. He is a black male, 5′8″, approximately 160 pounds (please see attached photo). If you have any information regarding his whereabouts, please call the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit at 574-235-5009 or Crime Stoppers at 574-288-STOP.

Please see attached Criminal Information and Supplemental Affidavit in Support of Probable Cause.

The sentencing range for Murder is 45 to 65 years. A Felony Firearm Sentencing Enhancement can add an additional 5 to 20 years to the conviction of the underlying offense.

Please be advised that the charges filed against this defendant are merely accusations and that he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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