Swikar Patel / The Journal Gazette
Three adults fled from the scene of the hostage incident when police arrived Wednesday, March 20, leaving a 3-year-old boy behind.
A man in Fort Wayne, Ind., snatched his ex-girlfriend off of a city bus, fatally shot her with a shotgun, then took a 3-year-old boy hostage and holed up in a house — only to be shot dead by police snipers, authorities said.
After pulling her off a bus, Kenneth Knight, 45, killed Jacqueline Hardy, 49, with a shotgun blast about 8 a.m. ET on the sidewalk in front of dozens of children who were on their way to school, officials said.
He then fled with the toddler to a house a mile and a half away, where police found him and surrounded the property. Negotiators made contact with Knight but when he refused to surrender or release the child, Reuters reported.
Several hours later, about 4:30 p.m., two police snipers — who had been ordered to shoot "if there was an opportunity" — fired simultaneously, Police Chief Rusty York said, NBC station WISE of Fort Wayne reported.
Knight was killed by a single gunshot, York said.
Officers carried the young boy out of the house shortly thereafter. He was unharmed and was returned to his parents, they said.
Police told WISE that Hardy and Knight were sitting together on the bus Wednesday morning when the confrontation began. Hardy had taken out a restraining order against Knight, they said, describing the killing as a domestic disturbance that got out of hand.
Knight also knew three adults in the house where he took refuge, police said, but he wasn't closely acquainted with the child. The adults fled the house when police arrived, leaving the child behind.
Krista Stockman, a spokeswoman for Fort Wayne Community Schools, said the shooting was witnessed by dozens of children who were walking or busing to school. Counselors were called in to talk with students at three schools in the immediate area.
"Some of the children may be very young, and they many not even realize what they saw, and so as they start hearing about what happened either from their peers or when they go home tonight, they may suddenly realize: 'Wait I saw that happen. That's what was going on,'" Stockman said. "And that could have a profound impact on them.
"As a community, we need to make sure that we're not letting these things happen," she told WISE. "We need to remember that there are little eyes out there watching all the time, and this kind of thing really will affect these children."