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Suspect in shooting at Link’s sought

October 4, 2018

Frank and Mike Paige made it clear from the start who shot them at Link’s Wonderland as they arrived for breakfast Friday, Sept. 21.

Gabriel A. Hicks, 29, charged Wednesday with two counts of attempted murder, had been feuding with the Paiges and their family for about two years. Threats were made on social media, court documents said.

Their younger sister, who was in a relationship with Hicks, told police he had threatened her and her family, court records said.

Hicks, of the 1200 block of Elm Street, is accused of shooting both brothers multiple times at Link’s after a short confrontation inside the restaurant.

A warrant was issued for his arrest. The family fears reprisal and is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone with information leading to an arrest, Andre Beasley, the Paiges’ older brother, told The Journal Gazette on Wednesday.

“As a family, we’re definitely concerned with our safety until he is apprehended by police,” Beasley said.

Hicks is described as a black male, 5-foot-9, about 175 pounds with black hair and brown eyes, although he is known to wear colored contact lenses and glasses. He has tattoos on both arms and on his neck. He should be considered armed and dangerous, police said last month.

Eleven days before the shootings, three police reports indicated trouble between Hicks and the family, court documents said.

In court documents, several witnesses told police what they saw the day of the shooting at Link’s, a popular place for breakfast in the 1700 block of East Creighton Avenue near South Anthony Boulevard.

Fort Wayne police detectives also recovered video that shows the two brothers and Hicks inside the restaurant talking before Hicks walks off briefly to get a handgun, returning to shoot the men as they flee out the door, court documents said.

In the video, one brother goes out of screen view, re-emerging on camera with large amounts of blood on his shirt, court records said.

Witnesses corroborated what detectives saw on the video and what the victims related. One witness said she was about to enter Link’s when she heard gun shots and retreated behind her car. She saw one of the victims exit the restaurant, followed by Hicks. Hicks was wearing all black and shooting the victim at short range, she told police.

Another witness working outside the business heard the shots and saw Hicks standing over a man lying on the ground. The witness said he saw Hicks shoot the man while standing over him.

A witness inside the restaurant said Hicks had placed an order for food. A man, also a witness, told police the Paiges confronted Hicks about “running his mouth on social media,” and then he saw one man leaving the restaurant while Hicks shot the other man, court records said.

Beasley told The Journal Gazette his brother Mike, 35, was shot in the restaurant foyer while Frank, 28, was shot in the parking lot. Mike was shot at close range in the side, chest and back and is still in the hospital, Beasley said.

Frank, shot in the head, chest and back, was chased across the parking lot until he fell to the ground. Hicks continued to shoot him until his gun was empty, court records said.

Police recovered 15 shell casings at the crime scene, all belonging to the same 9 mm gun, court documents said.

Shortly after the shooting, word spread on Facebook about the extent of the injuries. Facebook friends were worried that Mike, a barber, wouldn’t be able to practice his profession any more. “Mike’s able to use his hands,” Beasley said Wednesday. “That’s not true.”

Frank is now out of the hospital after spending more than a week there. He was shot at least seven times, one bullet entering near his spine, Beasley said.

“It’s important for families for witnesses to cooperate with the police in order to bring perpetrators to justice. The FWPD has done an amazing job in terms of their Victims Assistance unit and keeping us informed and keeping our brothers safe, bringing up the charges and investigating the case,” Beasley said.

The community “cannot allow acts like this to become the norm in the community,” Beasley said.

jduffy@jg.net

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