By RYAN S. CLARK
A 28-year-old Richmond man who was killed in a shooting on Thursday was to be married in a week, the victim's fiancée said Saturday.
Alyssa Burdette said Saturday that she and Donald Middleton had recently moved into a new home and were planning their future together before Middleton died Thursday at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis from a gunshot wound to the head sustained early that day. Police continue looking for Ronald Allen Maish, 34, who admitted to an emergency operator that he shot Middleton in the basement of a home on South Eighth Street
Burdette is a bartender at Mack's Place, which is the bar Maish and Middleton were last seen before the shooting.
Her recollection of events is that Maish had picked a fight with someone and Middleton was trying to talk him out of fighting.
"I think Ronnie took it the wrong way," Burdette said of Middleton's actions. "He hit Donnie and Donnie didn't understand why he did that."
Burdette said the men left the bar at 2:45 a.m.
Once she left the bar, she drove by the South Eighth Street home to see if the two men were in the yard.
"At 7 a.m., the police came to my door and said that Donnie had been involved in an accident," she said.
Burdette met Middleton's family at Reid Hospital and then traveled to Indianapolis when the victim was transferred to Methodist Hospital.
After giving a statement to police, Burdette said she was at Middleton's bedside with the rest of his family before he died.
"At the hospital, nobody said anything. The doctors said he was inoperable because too much damage had been done," she said.
"Everyone is shocked. No one understands why this happened because they were friends," she said of Middleton and Maish.
She said the two first met at the bar in October and became friends.
There were no previous incidents between the two men, she said.
"If I can say anything to Ronnie (Maish) it would be that I just want him to do the right thing," Burdette said. "Because we can't go back and change time."
Burdette said that she knew Donald Middleton since they were in middle school because he was her first kiss.
They lost touch over the years until they met up again in October.
She said that she connected with Middleton and had received a marriage license. They were planning to marry next weekend, she said.
"I just knew that he was the one I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with," she said tearfully.
Christy Hopkins, who is one of Middleton's cousins, said that her family is shocked and puzzled as to how the shooting started.
She also said her family and the Maish family had been connected because her grandmother had watched Maish and his siblings when they were children.
Hopkins said that she hadn't seen much of her cousin recently, but remembers that he was the kind of person who "always tried to make people laugh and smile."
"I really would like the police to find (Maish). I remember reading in the paper that the police want Ronnie to come in to tell his side of the story," she said. "But who is going to tell Donnie's side of the story?"
Richmond police Sgt. Brad Berner said Friday that police are looking to speak with and not necessarily arrest Maish.
Berner described Maish as sounding remorseful after the two had a phone conversation Thursday evening.
An autopsy is scheduled today for Middleton.
News | Feb. 17, 2008 | Page 1A
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