LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

17-year-old held as suspect in Indiana sniper shootings


A 17-year-old from Delaware County, Indiana was being held Tuesday as a suspect in the weekend sniper shootings along two Indiana highways, a prosecutor said.

Zachariah Blanton of Gaston was facing preliminary charges of murder, attempted murder and criminal recklessness, Jackson County Prosecutor Stephen Pierson said Tuesday.

A Jackson Superior Court judge on Tuesday afternoon said he found probable cause to issue an arrest warrant for Blanton, who was being held at the Jackson County jail in Brownstown, about 10 miles southwest of Seymour.

Pierson also said Indiana State Police also recovered a rifle they believed was used in both shootings.  Shots fired about 12:20 a.m. Sunday at two pickup trucks on Interstate 65 near Seymour, some 50 miles south of Indianapolis, killed Jerry L. Ross, 40, of New Albany. The shots also wounded Robert John Otto Hartl, 25, of Audubon, Iowa, who was a passenger in the other truck. He was released after treatment at a Seymour hospital.

About two hours later, bullets struck a moving semitrailer and a parked sport-utility on I-69 near Muncie in Delaware County. No one was injured in those shootings.  Authorities considered the shootings linked.

Investigators searched fields, overpasses and roads looking for evidence Monday, and Columbus, Ohio, detectives who solved that city's 2003 and 2004 sniper shootings traveled to Indiana to help.

Electronic signs along highways across the state urged the public to report anything strange they might notice to police investigators.