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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Officials: Four to five bullets hit school

Monday, October 22, 2007

Indiana State Police Crime Scene Technician Jason Fajt removes evidence of bullet holes at Van Buren Elementary School.
Investigators released information late Monday afternoon that four to five other bullets struck Van Buren Elementary School during a shooting at the school Thursday afternoon when one bullet pierced two cafeteria glass doors and hit the ceiling.

Indiana State Police Crime Scene Technician Jason Fajt collected evidence of several bullet holes at the school Thursday to see whether they matched the bullet found in the cafeteria area. Officials will not release information about the samples sent to the Indiana State Police Crime Laboratory for analysis at this time.

At 12:48 p.m. Thursday, Custodian Glen Williams was injured by flying glass when a bullet pierced both glass door windows on the west side of the building and went into the ceiling of the cafeteria area. No other injuries were reported at the scene.

Suffering from an eye injury, Williams was taken to St. Vincent Clay Hospital where he was treated and released. Williams returned to work Friday.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Department was on the scene within minutes while members of the Indiana State Police, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Van Buren Volunteer Fire Department, Clay Community Corrections, Parke County Sheriff’s Department, Brazil City and Clay City Police departments were dispatched to provide security at the scene and other school facilities in the county and follow up on incoming leads.

With greater resources available than there are at the local level of law enforcement, the FBI and US Marshal’s Service is providing background check assistance and records and resources from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms department.

Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton said investigators have spent numerous hours traveling the Wabash Valley investigating tips, interviewing witnesses and performing many neighborhood checks.

Multiple tips about “black vans” have been investigated, but none have been linked to the shooting incident.

Chief Deputy Rob Gambill, lead investigator for the sheriff’s department, and Deputy Brison Swearingen investigated one tip Friday evening about a black van parked at a local fast-food restaurant. After explaining to the owners the circumstances, the owners allowed the officers to search the van.

Although nothing was found, Heaton said the incident showed the level of work being done by the investigators and the public’s support of the investigation.

“We are getting a lot of calls,” he said, adding that investigators continue to receive tips on the suspect vehicle and the occupants. “We are following up on all the tips provided by the public.”

Gambill and Indiana State Police Master Trooper Sam Stearley were working with federal authorities Friday afternoon to canvas local businesses in the area for potential leads on the suspects.

During the early part of the investigation, witnesses reported two different descriptions of the suspects’ vehicle. One description of the vehicle is a newer, clean looking black van while the second version described it as being a flat-black, primer colored, older looking van.

In the past few days investigators found that a majority of the tips received have indicated the vehicle seen in the area at the time of the shooting at the school was the primer flat black older van.

The similarity in both descriptions is the van has no side windows, but no one has been able to provide information about the vehicles’ make or model.

The two suspects have been described as white males and are considered by officials to be dangerous at this time.

To report information in this case, contact Indiana State Police Master Trooper Sam Stearley at 812-299-1153 or Clay County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Rob Gamble at 812-446-2535 (ext.5).

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