News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

August 24, 2012

Suspected shooter makes Vigo court appearance

Coroner says shooting victim died from gunshot wounds to the chest

TERRE HAUTE — One man is dead, two others injured and a fourth man under arrest after an early morning shooting Friday on an Indiana State University parking lot near the Ballyhoo Tavern.

Police say an argument apparently began inside the bar at Ninth and Chestnut streets, then continued across the street onto the parking lot, where 24-year-old Dustin Kelly of Terre Haute was fatally shot.

At a morning news conference Friday, Terre Haute police said a handgun was used in the incident in which two other Terre Haute men — Dante Pettus and Terrance Trotter, both 21 — were wounded. The shooting victims were taken to hospitals, one in Terre Haute and the other in Indianapolis, police said.

The alleged shooter, William Mallory, 21, turned himself in to police in the Indianapolis area Friday morning and was brought back to Terre Haute later in the day.

Mallory appeared in Vigo County Superior Court Division 6, where Judge Michael Lewis found probable cause for Mallory’s arrest on a charge of murder. No bond was set and he remained in the Vigo County Jail. The prosecutor has until 1:30 p.m. Tuesday to file formal charges.

Mallory, an ISU student from Indianapolis, has been suspended from the university, said Bill Mercier, ISU police chief.

Kelly was an ISU student about four years ago, Mercier said.  

Kelly died from gunshot wounds to the chest, said Vigo County Coroner Dr. Roland Kohr, who performed an autopsy Friday afternoon.

According to Shawn Keen, Terre Haute assistant police chief, it appears there were a few instances inside the Ballyhoo where words were exchanged, “and this carried out onto the parking lot.” There was no physical altercation inside the bar. The parking lot is on the south side of Chestnut Street and east of Ninth Street.

About an hour elapsed between the initial argument and the shootings. Keen could not say how many shots were fired because of the ongoing investigation.

There was no indication the three victims possessed firearms or any weapons, Keen said.

Fourteen detectives were called to the scene and more than 17 witnesses were interviewed, Keen said. A large crowd of about 200 people was gathered at the scene, he estimated. Many people were upset, including friends of the victims.

The argument/shooting appears to be an isolated incident and “the sole person responsible for this act is in custody,” Keen said. “There is no indication this is anything more than an isolated incident between the individuals that were involved.”

As part of their investigation, police are looking into whether there was a history between the parties involved in the incident.

Police Chief John Plasse urged those upset about the shootings to let police and the prosecutor’s office handle the matter and not try to “take justice into their own hands.”

The alleged shooter “will be dealt with,” Plasse said. “We have three people shot, one dead, and we don’t want any more violence because of this.”

While the incident appears isolated, “We’ll review everything we learn from this investigation, and if we see something that may be an issue, we’ll definitely try to act on it,” Plasse said.

Mercier said it’s the first homicide that has occurred on the campus in the 12 years he has been ISU police chief. “The university is shocked and saddened by this,” he said. “It’s always a tragedy when these things occur.”

Students and the campus community need to be aware of what can happen and they should “be cautious and use good common sense and be careful of their surroundings,” he said.

ISU canceled some student events planned for Friday evening, and campus police intended to have extra patrols as a precaution, Mercier said.

The ISU community was informed of the incident through a text messaging system, he said. The first went out about 20 minutes after the incident, and it was updated at least two more times, once to let people know that the suspected shooter was in custody.

For this weekend, Keen said if there was “any indication there are threats of any fashion regarding any of these groups of people, then we’d increase patrols.”

Police noted Mallory initially fled the scene in a car driven by another individual. The driver “came forward” and provided the vehicle to police for inspection, Keen said. The driver is not in custody.

Assisting THPD at the shooting scene were Indiana State Police, ISU police and West Terre Haute police. Keen praised their assistance in helping control the crowd and identifying witnesses. “I can’t say enough how much they helped us in this investigation,” he said.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or sue.loughlin@

tribstar.com.

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