Zionsville Police look into gun ownership

David Meschino Jr.

A Zionsville man confessed to buying a revolver for another man two weeks before a revolver with the same serial number was found near the scene of a homicide Sunday, according to court records.

David Meschino Jr., 28, said he bought a .357 revolver in June and Ruger SR40 and Smith and Wesson MP Shield pistols March 21, all for James E. Hughes of Zionsville, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Police found a revolver with a serial number matching the one Meschino bought in a wooded area near Zionsville Town Hall and the Big Four Rail Trial on Sunday, about 12 hours after a body was found on a corner of the Quail Run apartments property, near a retention area close to the rail trail and behind the town hall, according to court records.

Samuel Thomas Bennett, 23, of Zionsville, had apparently been jogging on the trial before dawn, police said.

Bennett’s autopsy was Monday, but police have not released a preliminary cause of death. Zionsville Police Chief Robert Knox on Thursday declined to comment on whether the gun found is related to the Bennett shooting.

Knox declined to say if Hughes is a suspect in the case, although police served a search warrant at Hughes’ home Tuesday and found a receipt and owner’s manual for a Charger Arms .357 Magnum that Meschino is believed to have bought, according to court records. Hughes has not been charged.

Meschino was arrested Tuesday on a charge of attempting to provide a firearm to an ineligible person. He bonded out of the Boone County Jail the same day.

Meschino, 610 W. Poplar St., volunteered information about the gun purchases April 12 “because he felt it was wrong and wanted to get the guns back,” Zionsville Police Officer Josh Samuelson reported.

Hughes asked Meschino to buy firearms for him in June because someone had a “beef” with him and he was worried and unable to buy firearms himself because he was a felon, Meschino reportedly told police.

Police checked and found no felony charges for Hughes but said he has been convicted of misdemeanor battery against a public safety official and resisting law enforcement, according to the affidavit.

Hughes picked Meschino up in Zionsville and drove him to Don’s Guns on Lafayette Road in Indianapolis both times Meschino made purchases for Hughes with Hughes’ money and was paid a “tip,” Samuelson reported.

Police have said they are following leads on a person or persons of interest in the shooting, but did not name anyone.

“I know there are a lot of questions regarding this investigation,” Zionsville Mayor Tim Haak said in a statement Wednesday. “… Please know that the entire Zionsville Police Department’s criminal investigations division, along with multiple agencies, are on track with where they need to be in this investigation.

“The police chief continues to encourage residents to 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 Four Rail Trail and Zionsville parks, which are sunrise to sunset.

Investigators ask the public to report any information regarding the case, or any suspicious activity. Call the Zionsville Police Department at 317-873-5967 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or Boone County Central Dispatch at 765-482-1412 any time.

“When neighbors come together and have a comfortable relationship with police officers, there is a better chance of fighting crime,” Haak said.

Maria Flora writes for The Lebanon Reporter. Reach her at maria.flora@reporter.net.

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