Owner: Gun fired at Chicago VA was stolen from New Whiteland store

Local

NEW WHITELAND, Ind. (WISH) — The rifle fired by a suspect at a Chicago hospital Monday afternoon was one of 33 guns stolen in July from Element Armament on Tracy Road, the gun shop owner confirmed. 

Bernard Harvey Jr., 40, fired approximately nine shots at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, authorities said.

He was subdued within one minute of opening fire, according to FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Sallet.

Harvey complied when officers ordered him to drop the 9 mm caliber rifle and get on the ground, according to federal court documents filed Tuesday.

No injuries were reported. Motive remained unclear Wednesday.

Harvey, an Indianapolis resident, is charged with illegal firearm possession by a convicted felon, according to an affidavit obtained by News 8.

His criminal history includes a 2005 conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm; a 2000 conviction for manufacturing and delivering dangerous drugs; and a 1998 conviction for unlawfully possessing a firearm.

The owner of Element Armament told News 8 it was “scary to learn a gun from [his] shop had fallen into the wrong hands.”

He was “grateful nobody was shot at the Chicago VA,” he added. He requested anonymity, citing safety concerns.  

Surveillance footage provided to News 8 by the owner captured the July 27 break-in at Element Armament. The video shows five suspects in hooded sweatshirts entering through a side door, smashing display cases in the main store area and leaving with various firearms. Thirteen long guns and 20 handguns were reported stolen.

A group of teenagers were arrested in connection with the burglary, authorities said July 31. Federal charges are pending. 

Authorities were unable to confirm any connection between the teen suspects and Harvey.

It was unknown Wednesday night how many of the 33 stolen guns had been recovered.

Kenneth McDougall, a self-described gun aficionado who frequents gun shops in New Whiteland and Franklin, said safety was his top concern as a gun owner. 

“A gun is a powerful thing,” he told News 8, adding he stressed the importance of safety whenever his 9-year-old daughter accompanied him to the shooting range.

McDougall was shocked to learn 33 guns had been stolen from Element Armament. 

“[The guns could end up with] 33 unknown individuals that could do anything,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s the store’s fault.”

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