Complaint: Argument over girl sparked fatal mall shooting

An arrest warrant has been issued for 17-year-old Dezman Ellis, who is accused of shooting and...
An arrest warrant has been issued for 17-year-old Dezman Ellis, who is accused of shooting and killing Jovannie Frausto, 19, and shooting and injuring Colt Lemmers, at the Fox River Mall in Grand Chute on January 31.(Grand Chute Police)
Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 9:06 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 3, 2021 at 5:25 PM CST
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OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - Charges have been filed against a 17-year-old sought in connection to a fatal shooting at Fox River Mall.

A criminal complaint obtained by Action 2 News states Dezman Ellis has been charged with 1st Degree Intentional Homicide and 1st Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Ellis, 17. His blue Dodge Avenger was found in Oshkosh Monday, but Ellis remains on the run. Police say Ellis should be considered armed and dangerous. If you see him, do not approach him. Call police. The U.S. Marshals Service is assisting Grand Chute Police in the effort to arrest Ellis.

Police say charges needed to be filed before they could enlist help from the Marshals.

“The biggest decision was we have this gentleman who has already shown disregard for human life with the actions he displayed on Sunday. We owe it to the family of the victims. We owe it to the individuals that were on lockdown at the Fox River Mall for X-amount of hours to do absolutely everything we can to ensure that Mr. Ellis is captured and brought to justice. We wanted to utilize our federal resources, and in order to do that, we needed to file charges. With that in place, we were able to partner up with the U.S. Marshals Service to hopefully bring Mr. Ellis to justice,” says Officer Travis Waas.

Grand Chute mall shooting update, Feb. 3

Grand Chute Police give us an update on the hunt for Dezman Ellis in the Fox River Mall shooting.

Posted by WBAY TV-2 on Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Police say Ellis shot and killed 19-year-old Jovanni Frausto Sunday in the mall food court during an argument over a girl.

Another man, Colt Lemmers, was shot and injured. He was treated and released from the hospital.

Jovanni’s girlfriend told investigators that they went to the mall to eat at about 2:45 p.m. Jovanni and his girlfriend were accompanied by the girl’s niece. They were walking around when they came across a group of people they knew--one of them Dezman Ellis.

The girlfriend said Jovanni and Dezman “started to exchange words.”

Jovanni’s girlfriend told police that their argument was over a girl who was in Dezman’s group. About three months ago, Jovanni had been talking to the girl at the center of the dispute. Jovanni’s girlfriend said the girl had previously dated Dezman Ellis, but they were broken up when Jovanni was talking with her.

Jovanni’s current girlfriend says during the argument at the mall, Dezman threatened Jovanni, saying, “I will shoot this place up, I will kill you.” She says Dezman Ellis started flashing a gun. She left the area with her niece and Jovanni took off running.

“Jovanni ran straight and Dezman was chasing him with the gun,” says Jovanni’s girlfriend. She said Jovanni was not armed.

A witness in Dezman Ellis’ group said Dezman had a black handgun. She heard two shots. She saw Jovanni Frausto hold his chest, fall into a table, and then to the ground.

Dezman’s friend said their group ran out of the mall and drove away. She told police she dropped Dezman off at his apartment in the 700 block of Woodland Av in Oshkosh.

Another member of the group confirmed to police that Dezman had a gun and shot it. She stated that she believed Ellis still had the gun.

Survivor Colt Lemmers told police that he had spotted a friend near the Panda Express in the mall when he heard someone say “drop the gun.” He turned around and heard a shot. After the first shot, he felt something hit his hip. He described the pain as “feeling like a bee sting.” That’s when he realized he had been shot.

Police found two 9mm spent shell casings in the food court. The gun has not been recovered.

“We have reason to believe he’s [Ellis] still in possession of that firearm,” says Waas.

A witness later told police that he saw Ellis and his brother loading a blue Dodge Avenger with clothing and other items at the apartment on Woodland Av. That was right before police arrived at the apartment.

Jovanni Frausto suffered a wound to his chest and an exit wound through the back. He wat taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy determined the cause of death to be two gunshot wounds.

Police later spoke with Dezman Ellis’ brother, who stated that Dezman told him that he shot someone at the mall.

Jovanni’s girlfriend said they had not planned to meet with Dezman in the mall that day and it was a random occurrence.

The case remains under investigation, and there’s no word yet if others will face charges.

“That investigation is still ongoing,” says Officer Waas. “At this time, the only charges that I’m aware of are the current charges for Mr. Ellis.”

Jovanni Frausto’s mother, Tanya, has set up a GoFundMe account, and is asking for donations to cover funeral expenses.

On the page, she wrote “I never expected to have to bury my 19-year-old son to gun violence,” and “This is a difficult time for our family and we ask for your prayers.”

CLICK HERE to donate to the GoFundMe.

Jovanni’s uncle, JJ, says his nephew was a good kid. “His grandmother loved him. She has passed away in 2016, so I’m pretty sure grandma will take care of him,” says JJ Aponte.

Meanwhile, the manhunt for Ellis continues. It’s not yet known if he’s in Northeast Wisconsin or he’s traveled out of the area.

“It’s a possibility. We’re getting tips and we’re actively following up on leads. Some of those leads are stating that he’s local, some of those leads and tips are stating the opposite. With the U.S. Marshals Service, it really doesn’t matter. We’re going to utilize them to the best of their abilities to locate him and bring him to justice,” says Waas.

Waas is urging anyone with information to contact police. “Lives have been impacted, and the message that I have is turn yourself in,” Waas says.

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