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Prosecutor to note firearm use in case of suspect in Muncie block party shooting

John Vance (Photo Provided/Delaware County jail)

MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) — The 36-year-old man accused of a fatal shooting and the injuring at least 19 others during a July 31 block party in Muncie, Indiana, could face additional time in prison if found guilty of the crimes he faces.

Delaware County Prosecutor Eric Hoffman announced Monday that he will seek a felony firearm sentencing enhancement in the case.

Joseph Bonner, of Muncie, died in the shooting just before 1:20 a.m. July 30. Police say one injured person remained in an Indianapolis hospital, and two others were at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie.
All three were stable.

Muncie Police Department Chief Nathan Sloan had estimated from 500-1,000 people were attending a block park at the intersection of South Hackley and East Willard streets when the shooting happened.

John Vance Jr. was formally charged Friday with two counts of aggravated battery, criminal recklessness, and possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.

If proven, the firearms enhancement in Indiana typically adds up to five years to a prison sentence. However, the enhancement is capped at 10 years if a sawed-off shotgun was used and goes up to 20 years if a machine gun was used.

According to the probable cause affidavit, a fight between Bonner and Vance led to the gunfire at the block party.

Muncie police arrested Vance on Tuesday, the mayor announced during a prayer vigil at city church. Muncie is about a 70-minute drive northeast of downtown Indianapolis.

Court documents nor the prosecutor’s Monday announcement say what type of firearm Vance is accused of using. Police also have not said what type of firearm Van is accused of using.

Vance, who was arrested Aug. 1, continued to be held in jail Monday under a $105,000 bond. Online court records did not list an attorney for him.

Hoffman also filed the documents necessary to ask that Vance be declared a habitual offender, which could lead to a longer sentence if he is convicted of the pending charges.

The Muncie man’s record includes convictions for dealing in cocaine or a narcotic drug, resisting law enforcement, unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, battery, domestic battery and false informing.

The Delaware County prosecutor has said part of his investigation into the mass shooting will center around the person who hosted the party. The host of the party last week told I-Team 8’s Kody Fisher that he is not making any public comments despite Muncie police trying to place blame on him for what happened.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was updated to correct the date of the Muncie mass shooting.

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