BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, Ind. — The Bartholomew County community is shaken after a particularly violent holiday weekend in which sheriff’s deputies responded to three shooting scenes in two days.
Then on Thanksgiving afternoon, Columbus police found a man wounded in a road-rage shooting on Indianapolis Road.
“In the 30 years I’ve been in law enforcement, I’ve never had a weekend, a holiday weekend, where we’ve had four shootings,” Sheriff Matt Myers said.
In Edinburgh, 20-year-old Damion Bryant is accused of shooting and killing his stepfather, 49-year-old Wayne E. McGeorge Jr., on November 24 around 6:15 p.m. Myers said Bryant told deputies his stepfather came back from getting more alcohol, and they got into an argument when he returned.
At some point, a shotgun went off, and McGeorge was killed. Bryant has been preliminarily charged with murder.
“No one wins here,” Myers said. “Like I said, alcohol obviously played a role.”
Around the same time, Columbus police responded to a shooting on West State Road 46.
“A 74-year-old man had shot at a neighbor,” Myers explained. “Some shrapnel had hit the neighbor.”
That man is currently in jail on a preliminary charge of criminal recklessness.
Then over on Elm Street in Hope, Myers said 18-year-old Joseph Kidwell shot and killed his friend, 18-year-old Jesse Bragg. Myers said Kidwell found a 40-caliber gun in a compartment inside a couch and shot Bragg.
“That’s something that this 18-year-old that fired the shot will remember the rest of his life, and the other family, losing their loved one, they’ll never get over it,” Myers said.
Community members are feeling the weight of this increase in violence, too.
“I just can’t imagine. Can’t imagine going through what family members, people who knew them, it’s gotta be terrible,” Joella Small said.
Myers has a clear message to the community: if you’re going to own a gun, store it properly and don’t pick it up when you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Neighbors like Small plead the same.
“The way the world is nowadays, it scares me. It concerns me, and I’ve even made the comment to my husband, I am glad we are older because it seems like things are going downhill and not uphill,” Small said.