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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Few leads in school shooting case

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Leads into the investigation of the Oct. 18 shooting incident at Van Buren Elementary have grinded almost to a halt, but frustrated investigators refuse to give up.

"We are still looking into leads, but nothing concrete has developed yet," Clay County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Rob Gambill said Thursday. "We believe that the people who did this are still in our community. We desperately need more information."

Gambill said someone out there knows what happened and investigators are doing everything they can to find the people responsible.

Around 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.

Although the bullet did not injure anyone, flying glass from the broken doors struck a custodian in the eye.

Witnesses reported the suspects' older style van as having primer flat black paint and no side panel 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 shortly after two witnesses came forward with information about a black van seen in the area on Oct. 17.

Apparently a van matching the same description was seen traveling southbound on Harmony Road the day before. 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 would lead to the identification, capture and conviction of the individuals involved in the school shooting.

But, after several hundred man-hours spent on the investigation, officials have been unable to determine a motive or come up with concrete leads.

"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."

Gambill said officials believe the suspects in the case exhibited extremely violent behavior.

"This was a very cowardly act, firing shots at a school filled with students," Gambill said. "There are people out there that know who these people are and we need them to come forward."

To report information in this case, contact Gambill at 812-446-2535 at Ext. 5, or Indiana State Police Master Trooper Sam Stearley at 812-299-1153.

"It was luck the first time that no one was hurt worse," Gambill said. "Next time we can't depend on luck. We have to find these people."

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