BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — “I just shot a [expletive] in his chest the other day in Bloomington. You can see the report online.”
Investigators say Snapchat messages helped link a 19-year-old man charged with attempted murder in Johnson County to a shooting in Bloomington.
The Bloomington Police Department was investigating an incident that happened back on July 11 when they were approached by detectives from Johnson County on August 31.
In the Bloomington incident, a 42-year-old man was walking along Walnut Street in the middle of the night when someone in a car shot him.
The man told police he approached the car, which he described as a silver Ford Taurus, because someone inside the vehicle called him a “crackhead.” The victim then said he noticed the driver had a silver handgun, and someone in the backseat had a black handgun.
When the man was just five feet away, the driver raised the silver handgun and shot him once in the chest before taking off, according to court documents.
In Johnson County, police arrested Nicholas Saunders of Elizabethtown on August 8 on an attempted murder charge.
Saunders was accused of shooting a man several times in a targeted attack on August 7 in Morgantown.
Investigators in Johnson County said Saunders and a 19-year-old woman drove by the victim’s house “honking and shouting” before pulling into a driveway, getting out, and starting a verbal altercation with the victim’s wife.
Saunders had a gun pointed at the victim’s wife and when the victim asked him to put it away, Saunders shot him several times in the abdomen and legs, court documents allege.
When Johnson County investigators were looking through the suspect’s phone for evidence, they came across a Snapchat conversation between Saunders and an acquaintance that appeared to be an argument over a woman.
Acquaintance: “[You] wouldn’t make it in jail because [you’re] a [expletive.]”
Saunders: “I just shot a [expletive] in his chest the other day in Bloomington. You can see the report online.”
Investigators in Bloomington found a silver Taurus registered to Saunders. They also said surveillance video placed a “silver sedan” in the area around the time and location of the July 11 shooting.
A Bloomington detective reached out to police in Trafalgar who pulled Saunders over on July 6, a few days before the shooting. A Trafalgar officer said Saunders had a silver handgun in his lap during the traffic stop.
Investigators also obtained cell phone data that an FBI special agent with the Cellular Analysis Survey Team said confirmed Saunders was in Bloomington at the time of the July 11 shooting.
“Mr. Saunders lives in Elizabethtown and frequents Johnson County. He had no reason to be in Bloomington on a Sunday night/Monday morning at 1:15 a.m.,” reads an officer’s incident report.
Saunders was charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery and battery with a deadly weapon in Monroe County on October 4.
It’s his second attempted murder charge in less than two months. He is set to start a jury trial in December in Johnson County.