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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Officials frustrated with lack of leads in Van Buren shooting case

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

After chasing down the ever-dwindling leads and tips provided by the public regarding the Van Buren Elementary shooting investigation, officials admit to feeling some frustration about the stalled case.

Clay County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Rob Gambill said investigators have spent several hundred man-hours since school administrative personnel notified them of shots being fired at the rural elementary school from a black van in October.

"Someone out there knows what happened," Gambill said Tuesday. "We're doing everything we can right now, although the tips have dwindled to almost nothing. We are still checking up on leads and following up on van sightings reported in the area."

At 12:48 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 18, witnesses reported seeing two white male suspects fire several shots from inside a black van traveling northbound on Harmony Road (County Road 200 East) at the school. One of the shots pierced both glass cafeteria door windows on the west side of the building and lodged into the ceiling. The bullet injured no one, but flying glass from the broken doors struck a custodian in the eye.

A sweep of the area the day of the shooting by Clay County Sheriff's Department officers and the K-9 Unit found no evidence of shell casings that could have possibly been discharged by the weapon used during the shooting.

Officials have been unable to determine a motive for the shooting.

The suspects' older style van has been identified as having primer flat black paint and no side windows, but no one has been able to provide information about the vehicles' make or model.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a $5,000 reward for information about the shooting incident at Van Buren Elementary shortly after two witnesses came forward with information about a black van seen in the area on Oct. 17.

Apparently a van matching the description of the one believed to be involved in the school shooting was traveling southbound on Harmony Road the day before. The witnesses reported the van's side door was open and some of the people inside were sitting with their feet hanging outside of the vehicle.

Federal and local authorities hoped issuing the reward would encourage people to provide accurate information that will lead to the identification, capture and conviction of the individuals involved in the school shooting.

Dedicated to finding the suspects involved in the case, Gambill remains hopeful and believes people connected to the incident will come forward eventually.

"We need the public's assistance in this case," Gambill said. "Every little bit helps, we need tips to keep coming in from the public."

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

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