Indiana man formally charged after weekend block party kills 1, wounds 17

Aug 4, 2023, 4:36 PM

FILE - Police work the scene of a shooting on July 30, 2023, in Muncie, Ind. A Muncie man was forma...

FILE - Police work the scene of a shooting on July 30, 2023, in Muncie, Ind. A Muncie man was formally charged Friday, Aug. 4, in connection with the weekend shooting that left one person dead and 17 others wounded in the central Indiana city. (Douglas Walker/The Star Press via AP, File)

(Douglas Walker/The Star Press via AP, File)

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — A Muncie man was formally charged Friday with two counts of aggravated battery and criminal recklessness in connection with a weekend shooting that left one person dead and 17 others wounded in the central Indiana city.

John L. Vance Jr., 36, was also charged in Delaware Circuit Court with possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.

Delaware County Prosecutor Eric Hoffman acknowledged the charges do not specifically refer to the shooting death of 30-year-old Joseph E. Bonner III, of Muncie.

“This investigation is far from over. The investigation and any subsequent prosecution will go where the facts and evidence take it,” Hoffman said in a statement.

The shooting early Sunday unfolded at a block party in the city about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northeast of Indianapolis attended by hundreds of revelers as police were calling the venue’s owner to shut down the gathering, authorities have said. Bonner was among those attending, Muncie Police Chief Nathan Sloan has said.

Police were aware that the owner of a business that periodically rents out space for events was hosting a block party that got “out of control,” with between 500 and up to 1,000 in attendance, Sloan said. Photos of the scene showed police tags marking what appeared to be dozens of bullets on the street.

Police were not at the scene at the time of the shooting just after 1 a.m. on Sunday, but they were trying to get the business owner to end the party, Sloan said.

“We made a phone call to the owner and asked him to get things shut down. The streets were packed. Before we could make contact and get something done, before we could get that shut down, the gunfire erupted,” Sloan said during a news conference a day after the shooting.

Sloan described a chaotic scene as officers and first responders arrived at the location on Muncie’s east side.

“Our people were applying tourniquets, administering first aid, providing CPR. And they we were rushing people to the hospital in our police cars because we didn’t have time to wait,” Sloan said.

After the shooting, police had to separate people in a Muncie hospital’s parking lot who were arguing and officers had to clear a path at the hospital’s entrance for anyone needing medical attention to enter, Deputy Muncie Police Chief Melissa Criswell said.

Vance, who was arrested Tuesday, continued to be held in jail Friday under a $105,000 bond. Online court records did not list an attorney for him.

Hoffman also filed the documents necessary to ask that Vance be declared a habitual offender, which could lead to a longer sentence if he is convicted of the pending charges.

The Muncie man’s record includes convictions for dealing in cocaine or a narcotic drug, resisting law enforcement, unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, battery, domestic battery and false informing.

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Indiana man formally charged after weekend block party kills 1, wounds 17