Murder investigation continues; victim was shot 7 times; cases recovered from 2 calibers of guns

By Tom Barr and John Hamilton - News Journal

WILMINGTON — Wilmington police have conducted around 50 interviews and continue to investigate leads and analyze evidence in the week since Michael Melvin was gunned down last Tuesday morning while sitting in his parked SUV on Grant Street.

WPD Acting Chief Ron Cravens and Det. Scott Baker told the News Journal Tuesday that, according to the preliminary autopsy report, Melvin, 38, was shot seven times — from the back and from the front.

Police recovered from the crime scene over a dozen spent cartridges from handguns of two different calibers — a 9mm and a .45 — so either there was a single gunman with two weapons or, more likely, two shooters.

“It could be one (shooter) with two handguns. But not very likely” said Baker. “We’re still working on several leads; I think the leads are starting to thin out a little bit.”

Several items were recovered from inside Melvin’s vehicle at the crime scene, including a bag containing narcotics, several hundred dollars, and a handgun.

Police confirmed that the killing was a “premeditated, targeted attack”, and they have ruled out some potential suspects and some motives, including robbery.

“We truly believed it was planned, and set up, and (Melvin) was their intended target,” said Cravens.

Other evidence has been gathered, with some sent off for testing. They continue to investigate many possible motives.

Just one of those is related to an incident in Wilmington about a year ago when a man was shot in the abdomen, allegedly by Melvin, according to some witnesses interviewed at the time, according to police.

However, police said this week that the victim had refused to implicate the shooter, and no one was charged.

“We had one witness go to the grand jury and the victim was uncooperative (with police and the prosecutor’s office),” said Baker. “Is this a motive we have to look at right now? Of course. It’s not off the table. Is it our focus? No, it’s just kind of right up there with all of them until we get some solid evidence to say, ‘This is the route we want to go’.”

Cravens told the News Journal that police are “trying to narrow our focus. If we go against any of the evidence and the statements we get, it could take us down a different path, and we want to get it right.”

The joint Wilmington Police Department-Clinton County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team served a search warrant on a Doan Street apartment on Monday of this week, seizing items from what police said is a known drug house.

In several cases adjudicated in the Clinton County Court of Common Pleas in the past two decades (according to the Clinton County Clerk of Courts website), Melvin was convicted and served jail time and/or prison time for: crack cocaine trafficking (convicted in 2003); illegal conveyance of drugs (2005); aggravated trafficking of drugs (Oxycodone) and trafficking crack cocaine (2011); and trafficking in heroin (2015).

Police seek info

Anyone with possible information regarding this case is asked to call the Wilmington Police Department at 937-382-3833 and ask for Det. Scott Baker, or those who wish to remain anonymous can contact the TIPS line as well at 937-382-TIPS (382-8477).

By Tom Barr and John Hamilton

News Journal