By Margie Wuebker
The Celina Police Department is investigating a drive-by shooting that occurred shortly before 8:25 p.m. Tuesday. The incident involved shots being fired from one vehicle at another as they traveled along city streets.
No injuries were reported.
Police Chief Dave Slusser told The Daily Standard this morning his officers have talked to some “likely” suspects but no arrests had been made at press time today.
The alleged victims, whose names were not released, are two boys ages 16 and 17 and two adult men ages 18 and 19, all of Celina, Slusser said. They were in a car described only as a Chevy, and driving in the area of Sugar and Touvelle streets when shots were reportedly first fired in their direction. Their car was hit at least twice by gunfire at that point, a press release stated.
The 17-year-old driver told police he then drove north on Sugar Street, turned east and headed to the Speedway station at Summit and Main streets. He said he drove through the lot and pulled out onto North Main Street, which is when another shot was fired at the car as it headed south.
The driver proceeded to the police department to report the shootings. Officers discovered two bullets apparently struck the driver’s side of the car and a third struck the rear, according to the press release.
Slusser said the weapon used was a semi-automatic handgun. Officers recovered three shell casings along the 700 block of North Sugar Street during the course of their investigation, he said. They later located a 1988 Chevy Celebrity and towed it from a location near the intersection of U.S. 33 and Celina-Mendon Road, north of Celina, seizing it as evidence through a search warrant issued by Celina Municipal Court Judge James Scheer. The investigation reportedly continued throughout the night.
Slusser said the shooting may be linked to an altercation that took place earlier in the day, after school hours, at the former Big Bear parking lot on East Wayne Street. Slusser said this isn’t the city’s first drive-by shooting. “Back when we had the gang problems we had a couple, but this may be the first where victims were in the direct line of fire,” said the weary chief, who’d been up most of the night working on the case. “In this day and age, we’re fortunate this doesn’t happen more often.”
Slusser encourages anyone who may have seen or heard something suspicious that could be connected to the case to call the police department at 419-586-2345.
The Mercer County Sheriff’s Office assisted the police department in the investigation. A deputy reportedly went to an undisclosed Franklin Township location in an attempt to locate one of the suspects. He was not there.
— Daily Standard reporter Shelley Grieshop contributed to this story.