South Haven police still seek suspect in brazen homicide

Van Buren County

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — It was a brazen homicide by any standards: a shooting around high noon across from a busy park.

It was all the more shocking that it happened Thursday in South Haven, which averages only about one homicide every decade.

A woman who was home about a block away had no idea how close she came to getting caught up in the drama outside.

“I had headphones in,” Jackie Wyant told News 8 Friday. “I was just playing a game on my computer, so I completely missed everything.”

That is, until police knocked on her door.

Surveillance cameras from across the street showed that one of the suspects had tried breaking into her home while she was inside.

“They knocked on my door, they tried to test the lock. I think they were seeing if anyone was home,” she said of the suspect.

Police wanted to make sure he didn’t get in or ditch any evidence.

“I have no idea why they’d even pick my house out of all the houses,” she said.

Police told her they found no evidence.

“I was oblivious to it,” she said. “I got saved by my headphones because I don’t know what would have happened if I had answered the door.”

Police said this all started just after noon Thursday.

The man who owns the A & D One Stop store on Elkenburg Street said he saw the victim’s SUV and the suspect’s car through his surveillance camera, parked across the street from each other near Elkenburg Park.

As he reached his shop door, he heard a shot.

Both vehicles took off, the victim making it three blocks, driving past two schools. The victim’s SUV jumped a curb, took out a utility pole and crashed into bushes outside a Pizza Hut.

Balloons along LeGrange Street near Elkenburg Street in South Haven on July 9, 2021, serve as a makeshift memorial at the spot where Shondel Newell died the previous day after being shot.

Balloons now mark the site where 41-year-old Shondel Newell died, about 10 minutes from his home in Covert.

Police are not saying if they have determined a motive.

They did say they have taken a person of interest into custody. They are looking for a second possible suspect, identified as Tiah Deshon-Juanita Sutton.

Anyone with information about where Sutton may be can call the South Haven Police Department at 269.637.5151 or Van Buren County dispatch at 269.657.3101.

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