MUNCIE, Ind. — The Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office has officially released the charges for 36-year-old John L. Vance, the first person arrested after Sunday morning’s mass shooting in Muncie.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Vance was arrested on two counts of aggravated battery, a Level 3 felony; one count of possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, a Level 4 felony; and one count of criminal recklessness, a Level 5 felony. Vance is also being considered a habitual offender in this case, having previous drug and weapons possession charges. None of the charges are directly related to the shooting death of 30-year-old Joseph Bonner during an early Sunday morning incident.
According to previous reports. the shooting occurred at a party around 1:14 a.m. Sunday in the area of S. Hackley St. and E. Willard St. Officers said there were dozens of people injured at the party, which officials said became out of control when shots were fired.
The affidavit stated that a person saw Vance fighting Bonner during a party. After punches were allegedly thrown, the document stated that Vance “brandished” a “Glock style handgun” and pointed it in the direction of the crowd. The person said they were shot and heard around five to six additional gunshots.
Another person who was interviewed also told police they witnessed a “physical altercation” between Vance and Bonner during the party. As the second person began to walk away, the documents stated that they heard several gunshots, one of which hit them.
While investigators said there had been crosswords expressed and punches thrown, one of Bonner’s relatives told FOX59/CBS4 what she had learned from family witnesses to the shooting.
”They say that Joseph raised his shirt up and he showed the guy that he didn’t have anything on him. And I guess he basically let him know that he didn’t want a problem. Then a little bit later the kids say that they hear the shots ring out,” said the woman. ”You can hear on different videos the one shot, duh duh duh duh duh, then you can also hear it goes into a couple of bland shots. So someone else took action.”
While Vance was wounded, investigators won’t explain or whether other guns were fired that left victims injured.
Sources told FOX59/CBS4 that Vance and Bonner had a longstanding dispute over a non-fatal shooting in Anderson several years ago.
Vance was adjudicated a serious violent felon following a 2008 cocaine conviction.
He was arrested by Indiana Parole officers in Indianapolis in the spring of 2022 as a felon in possession of a firearm.
That charge was dismissed this past May as the Marion County Prosecutor found issues with the evidence, including the location of the found gun inside a woman’s purse in a closet along with a purchase receipt along with challenges to the State’s witnesses.
During a Wednesday morning news conference with officials from the city of Muncie, Muncie Police Department Deputy Chief Melissa Criswell said detectives have been investigating this case “day and night” and characterized Vance’s arrest as the first step in a long road ahead.
While she could not comment if there will be any further arrests, Criswell said that the investigation is “far from over.”
Criswell could not provide comments on how many shooters police believe there were during the incident and what weapons and/or evidence has been collected so far in the investigation. Criswell stressed that the department does not want to cut any corners on the investigation and compromise its integrity.
Other officials from the department, including Muncie Police Department Chief Nathan Sloan, provided more information about the department’s response.
While the department does not have the full timeline of their overall response to the incident, Sloan reiterated that the department did make an initial phone call while the party was going on, asking for it to be shut down. Sloan claimed that when the department tried to make further contact, the owner of the property where the party occurred refused to take further calls.
Muncie Police Department Deputy Chief Christopher Deegan said Sunday’s response was “an all hands on deck situation” from the department and assisting agencies. Deegan said that the community, as well as the first responders, needed to focus on how they can come together to prevent an event like this from happening again.
“The first responders for this community step up to the challenge every day,” he said during the conference. “The response that they dealt with was traumatic, to say the least.”
According to a release from the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office, Vance’s bond has been set for $105,000, cash only. Officials also said that the prosecutor’s office is “currently reviewing the case and anticipate filing formal charges in the coming days.”