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Tuesday, April 16
The Indiana Daily Student

city crime & courts

Woman arrested Friday in Bloomington unhoused camp murder

Crime Filler

Bloomington police arrested a woman in connection with the death of Curtis Butler, a 52-year-old man found shot inside a tent in an unhoused encampment behind Bloomington’s Wheeler Mission.  

Evelynn Lakisha Kuuleilehaunani, a 41-year-old identified as a transient woman, was arrested and charged with murder Friday, according to a Bloomington Police Department news release. 

BPD responded to a report of a man having been shot near the 200 block of S. Westplex Ave. around 1:45 p.m. Jan. 9. Bystanders directed officers to the woods behind the shelter, where there is a large encampment of unhoused individuals, according to a BPD news release. 

Witnesses helped identify Kuuleilehaunani as a suspect, telling officers they saw her and Butler arguing near his tent before Kuuleilehaunani reportedly raised a revolver above her head and fired one round into the air before lowering the weapon and firing multiple rounds into the tent where Butler stood, according to a BPD news release. Afterward, Kuuleilehaunani gathered her belongings and fled the scene. According to the release, Kuuleilehaunani and Butler had been in a relationship.  

Officers had been searching for Kuuleilehaunani since the incident. Police determined she was inside a house in the 500 block of S. Basswood Drive, according to the news release. Around 1 a.m. Friday morning, Kuuleilehaunani walked outside her apartment and officers arrested her without incident.  

She is now charged with one count of felony murder and is being held at Monroe County Jail.  

Butler’s death marked the second alleged murder to occur in the wooded area behind Wheeler Mission in just over a month. On Dec. 7, 31-year-old 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. 

Bloomington Mayor Kerry Thompson has attempted to address security concerns in Bloomington’s unhoused encampments since being sworn into office Jan. 1. The city removed an encampment at Fairview St. and Patterson Drive on Jan. 4. In addition to complaints of widespread littering on the lot, Thomson said the encampment had “significant safety issues.” 

Following Butler’s shooting, Thompson posted a video on the City of Bloomington Instagram.  

“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.” 

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