Prosecutor files murder charge against mobile home park shooting suspect

Mike Wolanin | The Republic Columbus police are shown in the area of Joseph Cox Court and the Homestead Mobile Home Park investigating a shooting Monday afternoon.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Bartholomew County Prosecutor Lindsey Holden-Kay today formally charged Corbin Hippensteel, 30, with murder in the Nov. 27 shooting death of Alejandro Flores, 54, Columbus.


Columbus police said the shooting occurred in the 2600 block of Joseph Cox Court at a residence where police were sent on a call of shots fired.

When officers arrived at the scene, they located Flores deceased inside the residence. Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting said Thursday that the preliminary cause of death for Flores is multiple gunshot wounds to the head. Toxicology tests are pending in the investigation.

A description of the shooting suspect was provided to officers and they located the suspect, a short time later walking in the Homestead Mobile Home Park where the shooting took place. Hippensteel was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Columbus Police Department. He is currently being held without bond at the Bartholomew County Jail. The case is pending in Bartholomew Circuit Court. Judge Kelly Benjamin will set the case for an initial hearing, according to the prosecutor’s office.

A probable cause affidavit filed with the case states offers were sent to the scene at 4:37 p.m. Nov. 27.

Officers at the scene told detectives that they found Flores at 2630 Joseph Cox Court, finding him in a chair with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the forehead. No firearm was found at the scene in immediate view, the court documents state.

A caller to police told them that after arriving home from work, a man knocked on his door asking if he could use a phone to call 911 because the man’s grandson had just shot and killed someone with a “.22.” Police went to the location and identified the man wishing to make the call as Danny W. Sanders, who reported his grandson, Hippensteel, had shot and killed a man at Sanders’ home. The affidavit states officers obtained a description of Hippensteel and located him on Middle Road, taking him into custody. No firearm was located on him, according to the affidavit.

Sanders said Hippensteel has mental health issues and could have been drinking liquor since the day prior, and had been ranting and raving, upset all day, the affidavit states.

He said “Alex” had come over to visit and had been there only a short time when Hippensteel came out from a back room, the affidavit states.

He said “Alex” was seated in a chair and there was conversation between the two. The affidavit states that Sanders then heard Hippensteel threaten to shoot “Alex” in the head, producing a revolver from his pocket and pointing it at “Alex,” according to the affidavit.

Sanders said he heard a click as though the trigger had been pulled and yelled at Hippensteel that he should not have a gun and to get out of the house, the affidavit states.

Sanders started to move toward Hippensteel and then heard a shot go off and saw “Alex” with a gunshot wound on his forehead, the affidavit states. Sanders ran from the home and heard additional shots, according to the court documents, and upon hearing Hippensteel yell for him, he ran to the stranger’s home to call 911.

Police learned the identity of the victim after Sanders pointed out a vehicle belonging to Flores, the affidavit states.

When searching the residence, investigators found an empty box for a Heritage Rough Rider .22 caliber revolver, according to court affidavits.
Also located was the revolver, between bed mattresses, the affidavit states. The firearm contained empty shell casings as well as unfired rounds.

The affidavit states that investigators found a plastic bag with .22-caliber ammunition similar to what was found in the recovered firearm in a jacket belonging to Hippensteel.

Investigators also searched a homeless encampment in a wooded area south of Rocky Ford road and east of Marr Road where Hippensteel was believed to be staying, the affidavit states. Investigators found some of Hippensteel’s property as well as additional .22-caliber ammunition at that scene, according to court documents.

For more, see Saturday’s print edition of The Republic.