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‘Shocked’: Friends remember man shot by 13-year-old in New Castle

NEW CASTLE, Ind. (WISH) — Neighbors in New Castle are grieving a man who, police say, died after being shot in the middle of a street.

Neighbors say they are shocked by police reports that a 13-year-old got access to a gun and on Tuesday night murdered Ernest Thornsbury, 47.

The teen, whose identity was being withheld from the public, was arrested Wednesday morning on a preliminary charge of murder, New Castle police say. The teen’s gender was not mentioned in a news release posted on Facebook by New Castle police.

“I was shocked,” Lynn Dobbs, a friend of Thornsbury, said. “My wife woke me up, and she said Ernie is dead.”

Jerry Day, who saw the aftermath of the shooting, said, “It’s a shame. It’s a shame what this world has come to. You know?”

New Castle Police Department reports the shooting happened just after 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the intersection of South 21st Street and A Avenue. That’s an area that predominantly has homes southeast of downtown New Castle. A railroad parallels the avenue.

Officers say Thornsbury was found lying in the road after the teenager shot him.

Dobbs and his wife say they had just seen Thornsbury hours earlier. “We invited him to dinner. We had ham and cornbread and beans, and we sat around talking about his family.”

Day lives close to where the shooting happened. “Heard a couple of gunshots and come out the front door and saw a guy laying over the road there, and another vehicle pulled up front of him and tried to get something out of him, asking him what was wrong, if he was shot or anything, and he just sat up bleeding on his back.”

Thornsbury was taken to Henry Community Health hospital, where he died.

Justin Wardlow, assistant chief of New Castle Police Department, said officers from his department, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and the Indiana State Police found the suspect in just a matter of hours after the shooting happened.

Police located and interviewed three other people of interest. They were not detained.

The assistant chief said, “Witness information, investigations, and speaking with the persons of interest: All of that kind of led them to identify the one person.”

News 8 on Wednesday reached out to the Henry County Prosecutor’s Office for information on the case. The office told News 8 that court documents on the case could be released Thursday.

Friends of the Thornsbury told News 8 that he’ll be remembered as someone who enjoyed giving back to his community.

Dobbs says his friend won’t soon be forgotten. “I know I’m going to miss him a lot. He was a great friend and, I know, my son, because they were friends, too, and I know he’ll miss him.”