Victim in Kokomo fatal hit-and-run may not have been suspect’s intended target

Update (May 23, 2017)-- Police say Maurice Shelley has turned himself in to authorities.

Original story:

KOKOMO, Ind. -- Kokomo police say the victim in an intentional hit-and-run outside a bar may not have been the suspect’s intended target.

Alisa Burnett, 42, died from her injuries after being pinned between two parked cars in the parking lot outside “Front Row Live,” where she worked as a bartender. Investigators say the suspect in the case, Maurice Shelley, may have been trying to hit someone else when he rammed a red van into one of the parked cars around 5:20 Sunday morning.

Several of Burnett’s co-workers told police Shelley had been escorted outside after being involved in an altercation inside the bar early Sunday morning. But Shelley didn’t leave the area.

“We understand that he went back into his van and got out a machete, and may have attacked an individual,” said Kokomo Police Major Brian Seldon. “We understand that there were no serious injuries behind that altercation but yeah, that was reported.”

Sometime after the bar closed, investigators say Shelley intentionally drove the red van toward a group of people in the parking lot. The van hit a parked car, pinning Burnett between two cars. Co-workers performed CPR on Burnett until medics arrived to rush her to a hospital, but Burnett later died from her injuries.

Police say Shelley drove the van a few miles away to the Lincolnwoods Apartments, where investigators believe he lived. Police found the van and a SWAT team was called in to search Shelley’s apartment, but he was not there.

“It really makes me mad that this guy didn’t have the… that he’s running,” said Missy Gibson, who also works at Front Row Live. “And I just hope they find him. I really do because Lisa needs justice.”

Gibson is one of several people who say Shelley had been fighting earlier in the night with the boyfriend of Burnett’s oldest daughter, who is in her 20s. She believes Shelley may have been trying to him rather than Burnett.

Gibson and other employees at the bar say Burnett, who went by Lisa, was well-liked by customers at the bar, and will be remembered for her uplifting personality.

“She was bright, bubbly,” said co-worker Christy Lucas. “Always had a smile on her face for anybody.”

Lucas and Gibson say Burnett also leaves behind another daughter who is in her teens.

Maurice Shelley has a criminal history going back several years. Prior charges filed against him include domestic battery, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, public intoxication and criminal recklessness. It’s unclear what prompted the altercation that resulted in him being escorted out of the bar Sunday morning.

“If he’s running from police you don’t know what he may do,” Major Seldon said. “So I would recommend if anybody knows his whereabouts or encounter him, please call 911 or the Kokomo Police Department.”

A warrant for Maurice Shelley was issued out of Howard Superior Court Monday. He is wanted on charges of voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, battery by means of a deadly weapon, reckless homicide and criminal recklessness.

Anyone with additional information or the whereabouts of Maurice Shelley is asked to contact Detective Michael Banush at 765-456-7278, or the Kokomo Police Department Hotline at 765-456-7017. You may qualify for a cash reward by calling Central Indiana Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS with your anonymous tip.

“We believe he may have affiliation in the Indianapolis area,” Seldon said. “And we know he has affiliation in the Kokomo area.”

“And I just hope they find him,” Lucas said. “I really do because Lisa needs justice.”

Friends and co-workers at Front Row Live are planning a candlelight vigil outside the bar on Thursday at 6 p.m. They hope to raise money to help pay for funeral and burial expenses.