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The Indiana Daily Student

crime & courts

Man shot, killed at Bloomington unhoused camp Tuesday

Crime Filler

Bloomington police are investigating the death of a 52-year-old man found shot inside a tent in an unhoused encampment behind Bloomington’s Wheeler Mission on Tuesday.  

Bloomington Police Department officers responded to a report of a man having been shot near the 200 block of South Westplex Avenue around 1:45 p.m. Tuesday. Bystanders directed officers to the woods behind the shelter, where there is a large encampment of unhoused individuals, according to a BPD news release. 

Police announced the man dead upon arrival.  

The victim and the shooter knew one another, according to the news release. As of 7 p.m. Tuesday, BPD said no arrests have been made.  

Bloomington Mayor Kerry Thompson posted a video on the City of Bloomington Instagram responding to the shooting.  

“We are deeply saddened by this event, and we are grateful that our police have secured the area and are caring for those still in that encampment,” Thompson said in the video. “This reinforces our need to focus as a community on gun safety and violence prevention.” 

Following Thompson’s swearing-in, the city removed an unhoused encampment at Fairview St. and Patterson Drive on Jan. 4. According to Indiana Public Media, Office of the Mayor communications director Angela Van Rooy said resource officers had been speaking to unhoused residents since Dec. 12, and they were given eviction notices on Dec. 29 and Jan. 2. In addition to complaints of widespread littering on the lot, Thomson said the encampment had “significant safety issues.” 

About a month earlier, on Dec. 7, a 31-year-old man was also found dead near Wheeler Mission. Shaquille Phillips was discovered face-down in a creek bed suffering deep cuts to his head from a machete attack that occurred just 200 feet away from the shelter. Craig Allen Pearson, a 42-year-old unhoused man, was charged with murder in connection with the attack. 

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