TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A Terre Haute man appeared in Vigo County Court Monday facing charges of attempted murder in connection to a late-night shooting at Willow Crossings apartment complex in Terre Haute in August.
According to court documents, John L. Bell is accused of shooting three of his neighbors whose apartment was across the hallway from his on August 22, 2022. Police reported finding a total of 12 shell casings in the common area as well as inside Bell’s apartment located on Sweetwater Court in Terre Haute.
One victim told police that her boyfriend who was shot in the torso had previously been in an argument with Bell, but that she had believed the situation was over before the shooting occurred. The victim told police that after firing off multiple rounds, Bell had fled the building. Some witnesses reported seeing Bell near some trash cans, but police said a search of that area for the gun found nothing.
Police said they were unable to locate Bell or his girlfriend the night of the shooting, but that a “ping” of Bell’s cell phone led them to believe he was in Vincennes. Bell’s girlfriend later told police they had driven to Vincennes and stayed at the Holiday Inn with her three children that night. She also told police that Bell had been picked up by an unknown individual at 4 a.m. and that she didn’t know where he was.
Bell’s girlfriend told police that Bell had shot his neighbors in self-defense. Bell’s girlfriend said the reason they fled was that Bell had a warrant for his arrest and he didn’t think the police would believe that he had acted in self-defense.
According to the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department, Bell was arrested in Chicago on September 12 by U.S. Marshals. He was then extradited to Indiana. Bell is being held in the Vigo County Jail.
The Vigo County Sheriff’s Office, US Marshals, Terre Haute Police, Indiana State Police, and the Vigo County Prosecutors Office were involved in the investigation and arrest.
John L. Bell has been charged with the following;
- Attempted murder (x2)
- A level 1 felony
- Aggravated battery when assault poses substantial risk of death (x2)
- A level 3 felony
- Criminal recklessness def. shoots a firearm into a building
- A level 5 felony
- Unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon
- A level 4 felony
Bell appeared in Vigo County Superior Court 1 Monday in an initial hearing. His trial date is set for March 6, 2023.