By Adam Strunk
A Newton man is recovering from an abdominal wound after being shot in a confrontation with a burglar.
The event led to lockdowns for a neighborhood and Bethel College as well as a seven hour search for the suspect that came up empty.
At 8:27 p.m. Sunday Oct. 16, Newton dispatch received a call reporting a burglary in the 400 Blk of Normandy, in northern Newton.
Newton Police Lt. Scott Powell said that a homeowner saw a man messing with the homeowner’s vehicle in his driveway. The homeowner went out and confronted the man.
Powell said the burglar charged the man and the two struggled in a physical confrontation. During the struggle police believe the burglar shot the homeowner with a pistol.
“We’re not sure who’s gun it was we’re still trying to figure that out,” Powell said.
The shot entered the homeowner’s abdomen, cut through muscle and fat and came out to then wound the man in the arm, Powell said.
“Didn’t hit any vitals and he’s going to be fine,” Powell said. “The medics took him to St. Francis, but he wasn’t in surgery very long. They went in, checked, wrapped him up and he was good to go.”
Powell said Police did briefly interview the shooting victim and he gave a discription of his attacker, a white male with a short beard who was taller than 5 feet 9 inches and weighed more than 200 pounds.
The shooter fled on foot, which set off a man hunt as well as the Newton Police Department to request residents in the area to exercise caution and stay inside.
“The suspect was still at large,” Powell said of the decision to alert the public. “Most of the time we kind of know who did it and probably why. But something last night we don’t know who it was or why they were there.”
Powell said two teams of dogs searched the area for evidence of the man. The NPD also stated that a drone was being deployed in the search.
Powell said that the police department was out looking until 3 a.m., but the search did not yield the suspect and little evidence. Powell said it was possible the burglar had parked near by and ran to a vehicle and left following the shooting.
The shooting, which took place less than a mile south and west of the Bethel College Campus prompted the North Newton Police Department to recommend putting the school on lockdown.
North Newton Police Chief Randy Jordan said he made the call and that the school was locked down for around two hours.
“The last report we had was he had run north and we were concerned he might have past Old 81,” he said.
Shortly after the Bethel campus went on lockdown the North Newton Police Department received reports of shots fired on the campus. Those reports ended up being unfounded but it resulted in law enforcement doing a room by room search of some buildings on the campus.
Jordan also said during the Bethel search a North Newton citizen reported someone trying to get in their front door, resulting in the need for officers to search the area of the address.
“We couldn’t substantiated it,” he said, adding that they still were glad for the tips and information. “We appreciate all the help we got from people making reports because if they don’t report it we don’t know it. We were very fortunate to have Newton Police Department, highway patrol, and sheriff’s office help last night. No way we could have taken care of everything with two officers.
With no leads into the case outside of the robbers description law enforcement is asking anyone with information on the crime to please contact them.