Witness saw shooter escape moments after man killed at South Bend house party

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 7:46 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - South Bend Resident Jordan Cruz says she has lived in her Northeast neighborhood home her entire life.

“This has been like a family house, we have been here our entire lives,” Cruz says.

But around the corner sits several rental homes, the majority that Jordan’s neighbor, Annie Costello, says is rented by local college students who like to party.

“Initially the problems were noise and litter and then through the years. It escalated from noise and litter to public indecency, and drunk driving, and now we have a dead body,” Costello says.

One of those homes, 821 East Washington St., now the center of an unsolved murder after police found 24-year-old Montell O’Neal, a father and former South Bend student, dead inside after a house party Sunday morning.

“The person I work with, that was their brother and so like it was like really dang shocking. I was like woah, it was insane,” Cruz says.

A young man who lives inside the home spoke to 16 News Now off camera Monday. The man says he was sitting on his front porch Sunday morning when a gunshot went off. When he rushed inside, he found a man he didn’t recognize shot to death in his front doorway, and the shooter leaving out the back door. Unfortunately, the man says he did not get a good look at the suspect.

Moving forward, Costello hopes renters are held responsible.

“This is an animal of a different color here. This is another tragedy waiting to happen until somebody does something,” Costello says.

As for Cruz, she hopes the the killer turns themselves in.

“What the hell is wrong with you. Just why? You’re going to a party and the first thing you want to do is kill somebody?”, Cruz says.

At this time, investigators say no one is in custody. Anyone with information is asked to contact County Metro Homicide at 574-235-5009 or Michiana Crime Stoppers at 574-288-STOP.

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