Shooting near Ball State University leaves neighbors concerned

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MUNCIE, Ind. -- A 19-year-old is behind bars after police say he’s involved in shooting seven people after midnight Saturday at a house party just five blocks from Ball State University.

Police quickly arrested and charged Va Shaun Harnett, of Muncie. The university confirmed he is not a student, but what’s still unclear is if the party was thrown by a student.

The university confirmed one of the seven shot is a student who has been treated and released. Police say one person who lives in the home is the daughter of the university’s baseball coach. She was not injured.

Police say they gathered nearly 30 people from the party to interview at city hall. Neighbors in the community say this type of violence is not normal.

“I had no idea it happened, I wouldn’t have imagined it happening here. It’s kind of scary,” Ball State graduate Taylor Beachy said.

Another neighbor said she heard the commotion. “It must’ve been fast shots because it was like bang, bang, bang, bang, you know?” Bobbie Jordan said.

Muncie Police Chief Joe Winkle says the party involved a DJ. “Evidently, there was some kind of confrontation inside of the house, turned into a shooting. We’ve got seven gunshot victims. I believe one has been life-lined to Indianapolis, two are pretty serious, and several of them are minor wounds… there’s also a possibility [of] someone being hit and run over by a car,” Winkle said.

Neighbors and police say many college students live in the area.

“That side of the neighborhood, there are a lot more college students. Again, I am not over there a ton and don’t really party, so I don’t hear about them. But there is definitely a lot in that area,” Beachy says.

“This is all kind of neighbors, you know, retired people, we are, they are, across the way they are,” Jordan said.

Some neighbors believe it will be hard for the university to prevent this from happening again.

“I honestly don’t know [how] it would be prevented. Parties are going to happen, there’s not a lot to prevent those, especially around Ball State and any college town really. They’re just going to happen,” Beachy said.

Meanwhile, others believe there is hope and room for growth.

“I think it would be great if it were more patrols through here. And they know that these kids are in these houses here, and it’s more of a party type group of kids,” Jordan said.

The university is making counselors available and released the following statement:

At approximately 12:45 a.m. on May 18, the Muncie Police Department — along with assistance from the Ball State University police department — responded to an off-campus, private residence located in the 2400 block of West Euclid Avenue, which is located about five blocks from campus. Seven people were reported to have been shot. A shooter has been apprehended and the individual is not a Ball State student.

Ball State University has confirmed that one of its students was among the seven people shot. This student has been treated and released from Ball Memorial Hospital.

"Keeping all members of our campus community safe is a top priority," said Ball State University President Geoffrey S. Mearns. "This is a very unfortunate event. We wish all the victims a full and prompt recovery."

Harnett is currently being held at the Delaware County Jail. It is unclear when his first court appearance will be.

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