News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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March 9, 2011

House stormed on Terre Haute's east side

More than 35 police officers used to execute warrants connected to double homicide

TERRE HAUTE — An army of Indiana State Police officers investigating an Owen County double homicide flooded an eastside Terre Haute neighborhood Wednesday afternoon to serve search warrants in the case.

About 35 ISP troopers, SWAT team members and detectives surrounded a house at the corner of Barton and Poplar streets and took away two individuals for questioning.

But shortly after 10 p.m., Sgt. Curt J. Durnil, public information officer with the Bloomington ISP Post, said he had not “been made aware of any arrests in the case.”

Police were looking for information and evidence related to the double homicide, Sgt. Joe Watts of the ISP Putnamville post confirmed to the Tribune-Star.

Watts said that two people who lived near the house that was searched — but not in that house — were taken into custody.

State police barricaded streets and searched the house at about 2 p.m. They used a police K-9 unit in the search.

Indiana State Police at Bloomington handled the scene in Terre Haute, but have been tight-lipped on the investigation since the bodies of gunshot victims Randy H. Bohannon and Brandon H. Hyde were found last Thursday night inside a house on Indiana 46 east of Bowling Green.

Durnil told the Tribune-Star in an e-mail late Wednesday night that the investigation in Terre Haute “has revealed more leads that need to be followed up on at this time. The investigation will continue through the night, and I am hopeful I will be updated with new information soon.”

The Herald-Times of Bloomington on its website Wednesday night quoted the Bloomington post as saying that releasing details might damage the investigation. ISP also told the newspaper that officers working the homicides have not taken days off since the crimes were discovered.

At midafternoon Wednesday, three Terre Haute schools near the barricaded scene — Davis Park Elementary, Woodrow Wilson Middle School and St. Patrick’s School — took safety precautions.

Davis Park at 19th and Poplar and Woodrow Wilson at 25th and Poplar kept students indoors until given the “all clear” by school officials and police. St. Patrick’s school, on 19th Street just south of Poplar, went on lockdown.

The two VCSC schools did not go on lockdown but were told to keep students inside, Superintendent Dan Tanoos said.

Davis Park buses were rerouted away from the investigation scene, he said. Children at that school who normally would walk home by themselves to the east were kept at school until police gave the all-clear, which occurred shortly after school was dismissed.

City police and school district security stayed in the area and kept school officials informed about what was happening, Tanoos said.

He estimated he learned of the police investigation at about 2:10 p.m. and received the “all-clear” about 35 minutes later. Several school district offices were “bombarded” with calls from concerned parents, Tanoos said.

Woodrow Wilson principal Sharon Pitts said during the police action that the school was considered under “Code Yellow,” and teachers locked their classroom doors as a precaution. Doors to the outside are always kept locked, she said.

“We were never in danger at any time,” Pitts said. “No one was running through the neighborhood.”

Classes at Wilson continued as normal, and students were released at the regular time; by then, the “all-clear” had been given.

Pitts has notified parents by telephone about the Code Yellow and that students and staff were never in danger.

St. Patrick’s principal Amy McClain said Tanoos informed her of the police investigation, and a school liaison officer also kept the school informed. The school was on lockdown until given the all-clear.

McClain notified parents about the situation by telephone. The incident caused about a three-minute delay in school dismissal, she said.

Under a lockdown situation, no one leaves the school and no one can enter, McClain said.

Additional details about the investigations will be updated at tribstar.com as they become available.

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