Crime Watch 8

Zionsville on edge after man found shot dead along Rail Trail

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — People living in Zionsville were on edge Monday after, the police chief said, the weekend brought the town’s fourth murder case in more than two decades.

Around 36 hours after the crime happened, the suspect was still on the loose. Police said time is of the essence when it comes to solving the homicide. 

Police said it all started around 6 a.m. Sunday when they were called to a report of shots fired. 

Less than an hour later, the body of Samuel Bennett, 23, was found with apparent gunshot wounds in a retention pond just off of Big 4 Rail Trail near Zionsville Town Hall. Zionsville Police Chief Robert Knox said the area is one the safest in town. 

“That’s what makes this so bizarre,” Knox said.

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The trail was empty Monday as the community tries to come to terms with a crime they don’t see often. The Zionsville Police Department said Monday afternoon that it is increasing patrols in the area and along the Big 4 Rail Trail.

“It’s a little spooky. To me, it’s a pretty random event. Zionsville is a really safe community. It’s rare to have something bizarre like this happen,” said Zionsville resident Jim Precup. 

Precup said, when he is on the trail, “I keep my phone on me. I don’t wear headphones so I just don’t zone out on the trail and I just keep looking around.”

Resident Jerry Graham said, “It’s very frightening. We just don’t have this sort of thing here. This has always been a community where you could walk. I used to walk and exercise at night. At midnight, I’d walk in the alleyways, never once worried about safety.”

But, the police chief said, that mentality will have to change as police have little to no leads and the suspect is still on the loose. 

“You’ve got to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. I’m not saying this young man wasn’t vigilant. I don’t know how this went down. But, you have to stay on your toes. You have to watch your six (your back),” Knox said. 

Knox said this is the town’s fourth murder since 1997, and he’s determined to solve it. 

“Evil has come to our community once again, and it’s so sad. Unfortunately, a young man lost his life, and we are going to do everything in our power to find out who did it and why,” the police chief said. 

As police continue to investigate, people who use the trail are doing everything they can to stay safe. 

No word on what led up to this shooting or any suspect description at this point in time. If you know anything, call Zionsville Police Department at 317-873-5967 or Boone County Central Dispatch at 765-482-1412. 

The department also emphasized the official hours of the Big 4 Rail Trail and Zionsville parks are sunrise to sunset. 

Murders in Zionsville

Oct. 30, 2018: Zionsville police investigate shooting at apartment complex

Sept. 21, 2018: Boone County father killed himself and his kids, deputies say

May 5, 2017: Zionsville PD identifies victim in Friday morning fatal shooting