UPDATE: (8/28/2023): Police announce second arrest tied to the Muncie block pary shooting. Justin E. Bonner, 29, was arrested on Aug. 28. on preliminary charges of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and serious violent felon in possession of a firearm.
MUNCIE, Ind. — John “Bubby” Vance, 36, made his initial appearance in Delaware Circuit Court today to hear the five formal charges he faces for his alleged role in the Muncie block party shooting on July 30th that left one man dead, 17 people shot and a victim run over by a fleeing driver.
Vance was one of those wounded people.
”He was shot five times, he’s a victim as well, and he was probably shot more than anybody else who was out there,” said Vance’s girlfriend, who consented to interview on the condition that she would remain anonymous, “and they need to deeper investigate and look more into than to just throw charges on him.”
Vance is not accused of killing Joseph Bonner, 30, but he was identified by two victims who told Muncie Police investigators while being treated at IU Ball Memorial Hospital in the first hours after the shooting that he pulled the trigger that left them wounded.
”It’s insane to me because one of the victims that did get shot of those two girls is stating that she don’t know who shot her, she just seen a flash, so, which one is it, did he shoot you or not?” the girlfriend asked. ”He don’t even carry a gun. He don’t carry a gun. He don’t own a gun. He don’t have a gun.”
Vance faces two counts of Aggravated Battery for allegedly shooting the two females, one count of Criminal Recklessness, a charge of being a Habitual Offender based on his previous cocaine, battery and firearms convictions and one count of Possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon which opened the door for Delaware County Prosecutor Eric Hoffman to file a Felony Firearm Sentencing Enhancement which could add up to 20 more years to any sentence if Vance is convicted.
The mother of Vance’s unborn child told FOX59 News that she was at the wheel last Tuesday afternoon when Muncie police and U.S. Marshals arrested Vance during a traffic stop on Muncie’s northside.
”They had guns drawn like we were killers, shooters, with the red beams beaming on us and everything. ’Put our hands up and get out of the car!’ which , he was shot so he couldn’t even unbuckle his seat belt or anything,” said Vance’s girlfriend as she recalled the questions detectives asked her. ”’Was I out there? Did I know who had the drones that were out there flying around? Did he say who shot him? Was he in an altercation with anybody? Did I see anybody fighting out there?’”
The woman said Vance told her he didn’t know who shot him and there had been no confrontation with Bonner before the gunfire.
”Everybody was dancing and having a good time. There was no fights or no arguments with anybody,” said the girlfriend who was also at the party but not at the shooting scene. ”He was shot five times. He was shot in the head, twice in the back and twice in the legs.”
A witness told FOX59 News that she’s viewed cell phone video of the shooting that recorded the sounds of two distinct guns firing, though police won’t say if any firearms have been recovered or if they’re searching for another shooter.
Prosecutor Hoffman said the investigation is still open.
”I’ve gotten daily, if not every other day, updates from the chief of police and the investigators in this case,” he said. “Its gonna take a while to sift through that and get all that evidence to the lab and get it tested and so on, so, like I said, its an ongoing investigation and we just take it day-by-day.”
Hoffman said the shooting during a citywide homecoming celebration has shaken the community to its core.
”I think its had a huge impact on the Muncie community in many different ways. Obviously to the victims as well as people and citizens in general,” he said. ”I’ve heard back from people that some people are scared, some people don’t want to go out in large numbers, large crowds anymore. I’ve also heard there are too many guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.”
Muncie Mayor Dan Ridenour said in the wake of the shooting he would meet with city and community leaders to address the issue of gun violence.
Hoffman said he wants to be part of those talks.
”I think first we have to start with the community and community leaders and start young with education and from there go to the Indiana General Assembly and discuss the issue of gun violence in the state of Indiana.”
While John Vance’s girlfriend doesn’t agree with the direction of the investigation thus far, she’s in support of tackling the specter of gun violence that mars events like the Muncie block party.
”All those other 19 people that were shot, they could be dead out there,” she said when I asked why more people in that crowd that night weren’t willing to come forward and tell police what they know. ”Everybody is, I guess, afraid to talk, to come up and speak, sometimes where there’s a lot of things going on and people, ‘Oh, wow, I don’t wanna be a snitch,’ or, ‘I don’t wanna tell,’ but this is something serious, like, a lot of people, one person did lose their life, but there could’ve been a lot of people dead out there and that’s still recovering.”
Vance remains jailed on $105,000 bond.
He told the Court he intends to hire a private attorney who may argue for a lower bond.
Judge Judi Calhoun set a Jan. 29, 2024, trial date.