LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

New Albany Man Killed In I-65 Sniper Shooting


Sniper shootings of two pickup trucks along Interstate 65 in southern Indiana early Sunday left one person dead and another injured, and state police said other vehicles also might have been targeted.

One or more snipers shot at a southbound truck about 12:20 a.m., killing one of the passengers, Jerry L. Ross, 40, of New Albany, police said.

About the same time, police received a report of a passenger shot in a second southbound pickup. A bullet grazed the head of that man, Robert John Otto Hartl, 25, of Audubon, Iowa, and he was released from a local hospital after being treated, police said.

A preliminary investigation could not distinguish whether the shots came from along the road or from an overpass in the area about 50 miles south of Indianapolis.

"We need to find out how many weapons were involved. We need to find out how many people are involved," Sgt. Jerry Goodin said.

Meanwhile, police also investigated two other shootings along a second highway. Those shootings, which occurred about two hours after the first shooting and about 50 miles northeast of Indianapolis, struck a semitrailer and a parked, unattended car, state police at the Redkey post said. No one was hurt.

"At this time it is unknown whether the shootings in the Seymour and Redkey area are related," Goodin said.

At the Seymour state police post, technicians gathered evidence from the two trucks. The white Chevrolet that Ross had ridden in was parked inside a garage. It had a bullet hole near the top of the windshield on the passenger side, and blood stained the top of the seat.

The second vehicle, a Dodge Ram extended cab pickup, had a bullet hole in the middle of its windshield and a rear window that had been blown out.

After the first shooting, the truck pulled off the highway at a truck weigh station. While that investigation was under way, the Seymour Police Department received a call from a gas station just off I-65 reporting the second shooting.

The second driver, Brandon Bonnesen, of Anita, Iowa, said he and Hartl were driving to Florida for construction work when he heard a loud noise.

"I cussed a little bit and looked at my friend. He was all bent over and I said, 'You all right?" He said, 'I'm OK, keep going,"' Bonneson said.

The bullet had grazed Hartl's head near his left ear, police said.

Police closed a 14-mile stretch of I-65 for eight hours after the shootings.

I-65, as part of the only direct route between Chicago and Florida, is heavily traveled at all hours, Goodin said. The highway's route also takes it through Louisville, Ky., and Nashville, Tenn.

Goodin asked motorists who had traveled through the area during the past week to check their vehicles for bullet holes: A noise dismissed as coming from a rock might actually have been a bullet.

"We need to find out if somebody got home and washed their car and there was a bullet hole and they were passing through the Seymour area," Goodin said.

Investigators also issued an alert to law enforcement agencies nationwide to discover whether there have been similar shootings, Goodin said.

About 2:30 a.m., or two hours after the first shooting, state police at Redkey received their first report of a shooting along I-69 in Delaware County. That shot struck a semitrailer near Muncie.

About an hour later, a shot struck the parked car.