Investigators seek clues in homicide near rail trail

Robert Knox

Zionsville resident Samuel Thomas Bennett was jogging on the Big Four Rail Trail behind Zionsville Town Hall when he was killed.

Zionsville Police Chief Robert Knox Monday said it's too soon to talk about a suspect or suspects, or a possible motive.

"These things take time," he said. "That's hard, because we want immediate results."

He said ZPD has four detectives assigned to the case, and outside agencies are assisting.

"We're going to use every resource at our disposal," he said.

Bennett, 23, was found dead after an apparent shooting on a corner of the Quail Run apartment complex property where he had collapsed, Knox said. His body was found just off of the rail trail, behind the town hall, about 7:20 a.m. Sunday. Knox said Bennett didn't live far from the trail.

An official cause of death will be reported after an autopsy is completed. An autopsy had not yet been scheduled as of press time Monday.

An hour before Bennett's body was found, reports of shots fired in that area were called in to 911, and police searched the area, but didn't find anything.

When Bennett was discovered, police began canvassing the area looking for a suspect or suspects and began processing the crime scene. Knox said surveillance video from the town hall is being reviewed to see if it contains information that could benefit the investigation.

Officers are providing extra patrols around schools and trails while the investigation continues, Knox said.

In the wake of this most recent shooting, the police chief said people should always be aware of their surroundings and use the buddy system when away from home walking, jogging or bicycling. ZPD also is emphasizing the official hours of the Big-4 Rail Trail and Zionsville parks, which are sunrise to sunset.

If residents see anything suspicious, they are asked to contact police.

"If people see or hear anything, please, give us a call — about this, or anytime — and let us at least take a look," Knox said. "Whatever you are doing, be vigilant, and if you see something that doesn't feel or look right, be on your toes."

He said crime is well documented in areas near Zionsville, "and there are just some bad people, and they do some horrible things. But we want to get the message out to the community that, although evil once again came to our town, Zionsville is still a very safe community," Knox said.

The Boone County Homicide Task Force and Boone County Prosecutor's Office are assisting ZPD. They are urging anyone with information about Bennett's death to call the Boone County Communications Center at 765-482-1412 or send an email to tips@co.boone.in.us.

The shooting occurred near the same apartment complex were a Zionsville man suffered a gunshot wound to the head Oct. 29. An arrest was made in that case and the suspect, Jaice E. Dusang of Indianapolis, is set to go to trail in July. He is accused of robbery resulting in serious bodily injury and numerous other charges.

Two years ago, a 30-year-old man from Indianapolis was found shot to death in the parking lot of the same apartment complex. Terrell Scott was shot multiple times, just before 6 a.m. May 5, 2017. A suspect in that case has never been identified.

And in September 2016, 82-year-old John A. Clements was shot to death outside his Terrace Drive home after going outside to get the mail. Damoine Wilcoxson of Indianapolis was charged for Clements' murder after he was named as a suspect in an unrelated case in Marion County. He was found guilty of Clements' murder during a bench trial earlier this year, and was given a 65-year sentence earlier this month.

Four people also were shot to death by relatives in Zionsville since Feb. 2016. The shooters in those two separate incidents took their own lives before being apprehended.

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