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Police arrest main suspect in shooting after 10-day search

Bloomington Police Department officers arrested a man Tuesday night on an attempted murder charge from Sept. 2.

BPD Sgt. Dana Cole said Brian Ringo, 39, had been hiding out in the woods in Greene County for several days.

An Owen County man called police Sept. 5 to report that Brian Ringo, 39, came to his house and hid a .22 caliber pistol, marijuana and glass smoking devices in a trash bag near a cornfield on his property.

The man told officers he didn’t want the items on his land after he learned they were involved in a shooting.

Ringo is accused of shooting Joshua Vestal, 35, twice during a domestic dispute. Police said one bullet grazed Vestal’s chest and one hit his left thumb. 

According to court documents, the incident began when Ringo called his wife Sept. 2 and told her he was on the porch of the trailer where she was staying. 

Stephanie Bruce was also in the home that night, and she told officers Ringo forced the door open and asked for his wife.

Ringo and his wife have been married for about five years but are going through a divorce. His wife is now in a relationship with Vestal, according to court documents, and was staying with him the night of the shooting.

Sgt. Cole said Ringo admitted to forcing his way into the trailer with a knife after hearing his wife was staying there. He told officers he took a handgun into the trailer and returned fire after Vestal shot at him.

Vestal told officers Ringo fired first.

Bruce reported watching Ringo kick in the front door and begin shooting with a handgun. She told officers she hid under a table until police arrived. Ringo’s wife told officers she was hiding in the bathroom during the incident.

Though Vestal initially denied having a gun, he later admitted to firing a 9 mm and said he and Bruce decided they would say she fired the gun so he wouldn’t be arrested for having a gun as a felon. 

During a sweep of the residence, officers found Vestal’s 9mm handgun hidden in the bathroom toilet tank.

Vestal was arrested Sept. 3 for the unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. He was arrested on the same charge in January, according to court documents.

Bruce was also arrested for obstruction of justice after lying to police about Vestal’s gun.

Ringo is facing preliminary felony charges of burglary and attempted murder. His initial hearing is scheduled for Wednesday. 

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