Friday, February 6, 2004

Woman kills self in spat at auction

By Dave Eck
Enquirer contributor

WEST HARRISON, Ind. - Police have closed their investigation into a shooting Wednesday night at an auto auction after the woman who fired the shots, wounding another woman, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police said Annette Sheppard, 23, died about 3 a.m. at University Hospital Thursday. The woman she shot, Bianca Anderson, 20, was treated at University and released.

The gunfire erupted shortly after 7 p.m. in the parking lot at West Harrison Auto Auction, 134 Harrison-Brookville Road.

Anderson was with her boyfriend, Washawn Ricks, 23, sitting in a car she had just purchased at the auction when Sheppard approached the vehicle, Dearborn County Sheriff's Detective John Vance said.

Ricks previously had a relationship with Sheppard and the two have a small child, Vance said.

Sheppard opened the car's passenger door, cursed and tried to fire a shot, but the gun misfired, Vance said.

Ricks, who was sitting in the passenger's seat, leaped from the car and Sheppard fired again. That bullet grazed Anderson's head.

Sheppard then chased Ricks around the parking lot, firing at him three times without hitting him. She finally ran across the street into a parking lot and turned the gun on herself, Vance said.

"It was very quick," Vance said.

Ricks, Sheppard and Anderson are all from Cincinnati, police said.

Earlier Wednesday, Anderson filed a report with Cincinnati police claiming that Sheppard had damaged Ricks' vehicle while it was in Anderson's possession, Vance said.

The shootings stunned Johnny Rowland, who has owned the auto auction for five years.

"I've never had (anything) like that happen," he said. "We usually don't have problems."

Rowland was outside when he heard the gunshots. He said he kept the auction going because he didn't want the hundreds of people inside the auction leaving the building.

"We tried to keep the people inside because we did not know where she was," Rowland said. "By them being inside, they were safe. ... I'd surely rather keep people safe than see that old dollar."

The auction has been a mainstay in West Harrison for years. The small Indiana community is just over the border from Ohio.

Rowland said he has several regulars who attend his twice-weekly auctions, but did not recognize any of the three people involved in the shootings.

"I couldn't understand why it happened," Rowland said.


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