Discovery of a small-caliber handgun believed to have been used in a Monday night shooting near Ninth Street Park came as a relief to Columbus police.
Officers had expressed concerns that a neighborhood child might inadvertently come across the weapon, creating a potentially dangerous situation, said Lt. Matt Myers, spokesman for the Columbus Police Department.
Their concern was one of the reasons police appealed to parents and others residing near the park to be on alert for the weapon.
The gun was discovered Tuesday by a Columbus resident.
“It wasn’t (found) anywhere close to the shooting,” Myers said, although police are not revealing the location.
Jimmie Dewayne Hair Jr., 26, of 1126 California St., is accused of shooting a 20-year-old male acquaintance in the neck about 9 p.m. Monday.
The shooting occurred in a residence at 1228 Eighth St., about two blocks from Ninth Street Park, Myers said.
Hair was arrested by Columbus police a short time later in different house near Ninth and California streets.
Police did not find the handgun in either of the two properties and had searched throughout side streets, yards and trash cans in a four-block area between the two homes to try to find it, Myers said. Officers also searched Ninth Street Park.
The suspect is being held in the Bartholomew County Jail on a preliminary charge of attempted murder as a Class A felony, according to a jail booking report.
If charged and convicted of attempted murder, Hair could be sentenced to 20 to 50 years behind bars and ordered to pay up to $10,000 in fines.
Criminal charges, if any, will be determined by the office of Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash.
Bond for Hair was set at $150,000, or $15,000 cash.
Jail officials learned Wednesday that Hair was on parole at the time of the shooting. Under Indiana law, he cannot be released unless new charges are dropped or the parole issue is resolved.
Details from the investigation will be included in a probable-cause affidavit that will be forwarded to the prosecutor’s office to determine charges.
On Wednesday, police were preparing that paperwork for Nash, who could file charges today or Friday, Myers said.
The shooting isn’t believed to be a random act, and the motive remains unclear, Myers said. Hair and the victim knew each other, he said.
Investigators know there were several people near the shooting when it occurred and continue to seek information from them.
“It’s scary, and people were frightened,” Myers said Wednesday. “But we do have residents who don’t want this type of activity in their neighborhood coming forward now.”
By withholding some information during the first few days after the shooting, investigators are trying not to reveal anything that might intimidate witnesses from cooperating with police, Myers said.
Police continue to withhold the identity of the victim, who was listed in stable condition Wednesday at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.