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Prayer vigil Tuesday in honor of Muncie mass shooting victims

A memorial on the corner of Hackley and Willard Streets in Muncie, Indiana, marks the scene where one person was killed and 17 others were injured in a mass shooting on Sunday, July 20, 2023. A prayer vigil for the shooting victims will be held Tuesday night. (WISH Photo/Katiera Winfrey)

MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) —  City officials in Muncie say there will be a prayer vigil on Tuesday night in honor of the people hurt or killed in Sunday’s mass shooting.

The ceremony will be held at the Berea Church, 1201 N. Wheeling Ave., at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Muncie Mayor Dan Ridenour said during an emotional press conference Monday.

One person was killed, 17 others were injured, and one person was hit by a car when gunfire erupted during a block party with hundreds of people in attendance. At least two of the victims are juveniles, according to police.

30-year-old Joseph Bonner died in the shooting.

“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,” Johnny Strong, Bonner’s uncle, told News 8.

Strong is a community activist and says Muncie has seen a lot of loss, but never like this. He says his nephew was 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.

Muncie leaders spoke at a press conference Monday to share more details about the shooting.

At 1:14 a.m. Sunday, Delaware County dispatch received a call for multiple people shot in the area of South Hackley Street and East Willard Street.

Around 500 to 1,000 people were at the block party when the shooting started, Muncie Police Chief Nathan Sloan said Monday.

Sloan says officers had attempted to disperse the party prior to shots being fired and had tried to contact the owner of the venue.

Due to the chaotic scene at Hackley and Willard Streets after the shooting, police officers were forced to drive victims to IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in their patrol cars. Once at the hospital, investigators say, fighting broke out in the parking lot.

“We do not believe this was an act of a single gunman in an attempt to target specific people,” Mayor Ridenour said Monday. “We do not know what led to the decision of this violence, but we know that these terrible tragedies are more likely to happen late at night when judgment is impaired.”

Investigators have not shared any details on possible suspects but say there is no active threat to the community.

Police are asking anyone with information or surveillance footage or cell phone video to contact their department at 765-747-4838.

Relief fund and mental health resources

The city of Muncie is also working to set up a relief fund to collect donations for the victims and their families.

Communications Director Michele Owen on Monday briefly discussed efforts to coordinate with mental health providers to help the community access grief and trauma resources.

Mental health professionals from Meridian Health Services will be available at Tuesday’s prayer vigil.