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Muncie mass shooting suspect doesn’t face murder charge during 1st court visit

John Vance Jr., the suspect in the July 30, 2023, mass shooting in Muncie, Indiana, is lead to his first court appearance on Aug 8, 2023, in Muncie. (WISH Photo)

MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) — The man accused of opening fire during a massive block party in Muncie made his first court appearance Tuesday.

John Vance Jr., 36, walked slowly into court with his hands cuffed in front of him.

He’s facing two counts of aggravated battery, a count of unlawful possession of a gun, and a count of criminal recklessness in the July 30 mass shooting that killed 30-year-old Joseph Bonner and put 18 others in hospitals. The shooting happened just before 1:20 a.m.

Notably, Vance was not accused of murdering Bonner. The Delaware County prosecutor explains that could change in the future.

“Nothing is set in stone. It’s an ongoing investigation,” said Delaware County Prosecutor Eric Hoffman on Tuesday.

On top of the four felony charges, Hoffman also added on a gun enhancement charge and a habitual offender charge because Vance has prior felony convictions.

If convicted, the judge says Vance faces a minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum of 90 years.

Hoffman says he has not handled a case such as this since being elected in 2018. “I would certainly say it’s the case with the most victims since I’ve been prosecutor. I don’t know if it’s the most complicated case,” the Democrat prosecutor said.

Hoffman did not say Tuesday if other people will be arrested and charged in connection to the shooting.

According to the probable cause affidavit, a fight between Bonner and Vance led to the gunfire at the block party. Muncie Police Department has not released additional information about its investigation.

Police, court documents nor the prosecutor have said what type of firearm Vance is accused of using.

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.

The judge kept Vance’s bond at $105,000 in cash and set his trial for January, although court dates are commonly rescheduled to later dates in Indiana courts.

The Delaware County prosecutor previously 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 that he is not making any public comments despite Muncie police trying to place blame on him for what happened.

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