Muncie Police investigate a homicide that occurred near campus. The victim was found at the Bethel Avenue Apartments complex. Kara Berg // DN
MPD arrests 2 students following fatal apartment shooting
A Ball State student fatally shot an armed robber at her apartment early Saturday – and was then arrested herself after police said they discovered 30 grams of marijuana and $10,000 in cash.
The incident began with a theft of keys at a Friday night video game tournament and ended with a shootout between the student and two robbers breaking into her home at the Bethel Apartments around 6:30 a.m. Saturday.
Authorities gave this account of the incident, which left two Ball State students facing charges, one man dead and another wounded and charged in the armed robbery:
The gaming tournament was held at the apartment of Darjae Houston, a 23-year-old student. Houston noticed her keys were missing after the party, and she woke up a few hours later, at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, when a masked intruder unlocked the front door to her apartment and began to come in. When she yelled, the intruder ran away.
She asked a male friend to come to the apartment for safety, and then was Face-timing with her friend Alicia Tarver when two masked men with handguns came to the door and tried to break in.
Houston’s male friend was trying to keep them out when one of the gunmen shot him in the wrist. Authorities, who did not name Houston's friend, said he was not seriously injured.
Police say Houston told them she then grabbed her 9-mm handgun from a couch and began firing at the men in her doorway. One of them – identified as 21-year-old Trayon L. Turner – was shot in the head and leg, and fell to the floor while the other man fled.
Turner died at the scene. The other intruder – later identified as his cousin, 21-year-old Delon Martez Owens of Indianapolis – was shot three times.
Authorities said Owens fled to the home of his girlfriend - Alicia Tarver, the woman whom Houston had been talking to via Facetime when the gunmen attacked her home. Tarver lives on Marleon Drive about two miles away, and police say she drove Owens to Ball Memorial Hospital, where he underwent surgery and was not critically injured.
Owens later tried to persuade officers that he was shot by three men trying to steal his cellphone. Tarver, meanwhile, told police she had been in Indianapolis. Investigators say she provided false information about her whereabouts at the time of the shootings, saying that, “[Owens] wouldn’t tell her what happened, and she had no clue what happened."
Investigators found a bloody .38-caliber revolver in a dumpster at Tarver’s apartment complex and a car at the apartment complex – registered to the dead man's mother – with blood stains inside. Turner’s wallet and ID were also found in Tarver’s apartment.
Back at Houston's apartment, police discovered the marijuana, cash and digital scales, and arrested Houston on preliminary charges of possession of marijuana and maintaining a common nuisance. Tarver was also arrested on charges of obstruction of justice, false informing and assisting a criminal. Both students were released from jail on Saturday after posting bond.
Police believe Houston had told Tarver that there were large amounts of money in her apartment, and that Owens and Turner broke in to take the cash.
Owens was released from Ball Memorial on Monday night and was being held in the Delaware County Jail under a $60,000 bond.
Records show Owens already faces criminal charges in Indianapolis. He was one of three men arrested for allegedly firing gunshots that wounded four people in a downtown Indianapolis parking garage on May 29. Trial on four charges of attempted murder is set for December, and he could face up to 40 years in prison if convicted. Owens also received a suspended sentence for a misdemeanor battery conviction in Marion County in July.
Muncie Police said because the male intruders fired shots first, Houston was justified in defending herself.
"When two suspects attempt to break in to someone's residence, it's always dangerous, and you have a right to defend yourself,” MPD Detective Brian Campbell said.
Campbell said more charges could be coming in the case, but it will be up to the prosecutor's office to make that decision.