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Muncie man killed, 17 others injured in block party mass shooting

MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) — A man is dead and at least 19 others were injured after a mass shooting at a community block party in Muncie.

Witnesses say multiple people fired shots into the crowd. Police are still looking for leads.

The intersection of Hackley and Willard switched from community fun to community tragedy. A small memorial has been placed here. Although the reason for this shooting isn’t clear, community members say this senseless violence has to stop.

Shots rang out into the night. Witnesses say many of the bullets had no clear target, but 19 people were hit, and one man was killed.

“Being that my nephew was the victim, that really touched home. When I get to thinking about how I feel about the violence in our community. It’s a terrible thing because of the way our youth is now,” said Johnny Strong.

He says he’s a community activist, and says the community has seen a lot of loss, but never like this. He says the man who died is his nephew, 30-year-old Joseph Bonner. He’s known as “Joe Smooth,” and while police are still investigating, strong is also hoping to get answers.

“A lot of crying. A lot of crying. A lot of agitated people. A lot of people that were real angry,” he said.

“When tragedy like this happens, there’s not much you can do but work towards a more peaceful and loving community.”

“It’s sad that people don’t think about others when they do stupid things like that,” said community member Vinny Lane. “I just feel like we need to be more worried about just sticking together and stopping the violence.”

And pray.

“We bind the enemy that comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but he says that we come so that we may have life,” said one community member during an impromptu prayer.

All week, the city had been celebrating its “Back2Muncie” celebration. Although the block party where the shooting happened was not connected to the celebrations, everyone can feel its impact.

A gospel celebration at McCulloch Park was canceled but those who came held an impromptu prayer session. While police work to figure out what happened, Strong says it’ll take a bit longer to solve the problem.

“The more we pour off into our youth, the more we get back. We can’t give up on our streets.”

Delaware County Prosecutor, Eric Hoffman, responded to the shooting in a statement Sunday night.

“It is too early in the investigation for me to say much,” Hoffman said. “I can say that I have been in contact with the Muncie Chief of Police and I continue to get updates on the investigation.  There are far too many guns on the street and  I certainly question the wisdom of someone having a huge outdoor party with several hundred people, including juveniles, carrying on into the early morning hours. Let’s take a dose of reality.  This is not the Vegas strip or Times Square.  This is a residential neighborhood.”

State Rep. Sue Errington, a democrat representing district 34, including Muncie, responded to the shooting in a statement Monday morning.

“This is a terrible tragedy, and one that is becoming far too common in our state and our country,” Errington said. “My heart goes out to the family and loved ones of the deceased and the 17 that were wounded, but we must also face the facts: Easier access to guns has not made our communities safer. After Statehouse Republicans passed permitless carry, we’ve seen more and more people walking through Muncie with guns on their hips. There is an epidemic in this state of teenagers and young adults losing their lives because guns are readily available the moment you turn 18. How many more families must be rocked by grief before we begin to take real, tangible action on this issue?”