A man reportedly with mental health issues who had been staying in a Columbus homeless camp is accused of fatally shooting a man earlier this week while staying with his grandfather, according to court documents.
Corbin Hippensteel, 30, whose address is listed in court documents as 1951 McKinley Ave., Columbus, was formally charged with murder Friday in the shooting death of Alejandro Flores, 54, at 2630 Joseph Cox Court. The case is pending in Bartholomew Circuit Court before Judge Kelly Benjamin, who had not set an initial hearing as of midday Friday, according to online court records.
Hippensteel is being held without bond in the Bartholomew County Jail, jail officials said.
Hippensteel was arrested without incident in the Homestead Mobile Home Park a short time after Columbus police responded to 911 calls at about 4:45 p.m. Monday. Upon arriving at the scene, police found Flores in a chair with multiple gunshot wounds to the head, according to the probable cause affidavit filed Friday.
Hippensteel’s grandfather, Danny W. Sanders, told police Hippensteel had been at the residence and his grandson had been visiting.
“Sanders advised that Hippensteel has mental health issues and believed he had been drinking liquor since (Sunday) due to finding an almost empty half gallon,” a CPD detective wrote in the probable cause affidavit.
Sanders told the officer that Hippensteel had been “ranting and raving and upset all day. Sanders advised that his friend ‘Alex’ (Flores) had come over to visit that evening and had only been there about 5 or 10 minutes when Hippensteel came out of a back room.”
There was conversation between Flores and Hippensteel but no arguing that he heard, Sanders told police, when Hippensteel suddenly threatened to shoot Flores in the head and pulled a revolver from his pocket, the affidavit says.
“Sanders advised that he heard a ‘click’ as if the trigger had been pulled, and began to yell at Hippensteel that he should not have a gun and to get out of the house. Sanders started to move toward Hippensteel and then heard a shot go off,” after which he saw Flores had been shot, according to the affidavit.
“Sanders stated he immediately ran from the home and heard additional shots. Sanders was afraid and heard Hippensteel yelling for him and ran to a stranger’s house where he asked to call 911,” the affidavit said.
Police on Tuesday executed a search warrant and found a .22 revolver between the bed mattresses as well as empty shell casings and unfired rounds in the room where Hippensteel was staying, according to the affidavit.
Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting said a forensic autopsy on Thursday concluded the preliminary cause of Flores’ death was multiple gunshot wounds to the head. Nolting also said toxicology results are pending.
“A search warrant was also obtained for a homeless camp in a wooded area south of Rocky Ford Road and east of Marr Road where Hippensteel was believed to be staying in the time leading up to the homicide,” according to the affidavit.
“During the execution of that warrant, in the tent believed to belong to Hippensteel based on prior police contacts, investigators found property in the name of Hippensteel, as well as additional .22 caliber ammunition similar to that found in the firearm located at the scene,” Foust wrote.
Online court records show Hippensteel, formerly of North Vernon, has a criminal record related to cases in Jennings County.
He was charged in December 2020 with felony counts of intimidation and criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon as well as misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
According to online court records, those charges were dismissed in April of 2022, one year after Hippensteel agreed to participate in a pretrial diversion program.
Prior to that case, in June of 2019, Hippensteel was charged with misdemeanor battery. That same month, Hippensteel entered a pretrial diversion agreement, and the battery charge was dismissed in February 2023.