News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

July 31, 2012

Police find links to shootings

Sunday incidents took place downtown and at community center

TERRE HAUTE — Two shootings that occurred more than 12 hours apart on Sunday are now said to be connected, Terre Haute Police report.

Assistant Chief Shawn Keen of THPD said police are hoping that witnesses to the incidents will contact police at (812) 238-1661 to assist in the investigation.

Just prior to 2 a.m. Sunday, gunshots were reported in the 600 block of Wabash Avenue near a downtown parking lot. Keen said the initial report of gunshots stated that the incident occurred at a downtown nightclub, however, the incident occurred farther west of Seventh Street.

Witnesses reported that two African-American men had fled the scene in a red GMC Suburban. Police located and stopped the vehicle near 13th Street and Wabash Avenue a few minutes later. The men did not possess firearms, Keen said, and were released. The men claimed that they had fled the area along Wabash Avenue after hearing a person talk about a firearm, Keen said, noting that the shots fired were an escalation of a fight between two men.

At 2:45 p.m., police were called to the Booker T. Washington Community Center on South 13th Street on a reported shooting. Police found one man with gunshot wounds on the east side or front of the building. Police also learned that another man, who also had been shot, had been transported to a local hospital by the same two men who had been stopped early in the morning in the GMC Suburban.

Witnesses at the community center told police that multiple people displayed handguns and fired shots, but only two people were struck by bullets. At least one of the shooting victims was seen in possession of a handgun, Keen said.

He declined during a Monday afternoon news conference to release the names of the shooting victims, citing safety concerns. He did, however, confirm that both sustained multiple gunshot wounds and were transported to an Indianapolis hospital, where they were in stable condition.

Keen also said criminal charges could be filed against one of the victims if police verify witness reports that he also fired a handgun.

The shootings are not believed to be gang-affiliated, Keen said, but could be related to an ongoing, longtime feud between families.

He noted that police are familiar with some of the people involved in the shootings. Both of the victims and many of the witnesses are people who now reside in Terre Haute, or who have lived in the city in the past.

The age range of the participants is 20 to 40 years, Keen said, and all are African-American males.

Lisa Trigg can be reached at (812) 231-425 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

 

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