Suspect arrested, charged in Orange Co. murders; other suspects - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Suspect arrested, charged in Orange Co. murders; other suspects still at large

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John R. Carpenter, June 22, 2014 photo from family friend. John R. Carpenter, June 22, 2014 photo from family friend.
John R. Carpenter, June 11, 2014 photo from family friend. John R. Carpenter, June 11, 2014 photo from family friend.
MARENGO, Ind. (WDRB) -- Police have arrested a suspect and are looking for two others in connection with Monday's triple shooting in Orange County, Ind.

Indiana State Police officers took 48-year-old Elbert Brooks of New Albany, Ind., into custody just before 10 p.m. Wednesday in Marengo, Ind. That's where they found Brooks at the Village of Marengo apartment complex. They questioned him for hours before arresting him.

Exclusive WDRB News video showed Brooks crossing his arms in front of his face as a trooper placed him in a patrol car.

A woman living at the apartment complex said Brooks had placed some of his belongings into her car.

"He kept saying he needed to leave and I needed to get him out today and he took all his stuff and put it in my trunk and I told them they could search my trunk," said Chasity Johnson.

Police were especially interested in a yellow t-shirt that was in the trunk. They cut a portion of it for evidence.

Officers continue to search for two more suspects in the case, who are still at large.

They include 35-year-old John Carpenter of Marengo, who was charged with murder earlier Wednesday. Police say Carpenter is armed and dangerous and possibly driving a red and grey 1991 Dodge Ram pickup truck with an Indiana truck tag of TK 913LGC. Officers served a search warrant on his property Tuesday morning as part of the investigation, Indiana State Police Sgt. Philip Hensley said.

The other suspect sought Wednesday night is 36-year-old James Davidson of Marengo. Police say they would like to speak to him regarding the case. He was last seen in the Marengo area Wednesday evening. Davidson is also considered armed and dangerous, and the public should not approach him or Carpenter, police said.

"There's not an active warrant from the court issued for him. He's wanted for questioning for his involvement at this point," said Sgt. Hensley.

Police ask anyone with information on the whereabouts of Carpenter or Davidson to call 911 or state police at 812-482-1441. 

State police believe each of the three men was involved in the triple shooting Monday at a home on Sandy Hook Road, also known as County Road 200 North, to the north of Paoli, Ind.

Officers arriving to a report of an unresponsive man found 56-year-old Nicholas Fields dead of a gunshot wound at his trailer. 25-year-old Corey Harris died at a Louisville hospital Tuesday of a gunshot wound to the head, police said. 

29-year-old Daniel Smitson was shot in the mouth and is recovering from his injuries, his grandfather said. Ronald Smitson told WDRB News how his grandson described the shooting to his grandmother.

"He told her that they threw him down on the floor and took a gun and shot him right through his jaw and (it) came out just below his eye on the other side," Ronald Smitson said. 

Police have not revealed a motive for the shootings. 

John Carpenter's mother, Debby Carpenter, told WDRB News Wednesday night that her son normally is "laid back, easy going and avoids trouble."

When asked if he was involved with the shootings or other criminal activity in the past, she answered, "This behavior is not characteristic of him, not at all."

(John Carpenter does have a criminal record.)

Debby Carpenter said her son has an explosive anger disorder stemming from injuries in a car accident and is possibly paranoid. She fears for his safety as a manhunt continued into the night.

"If they (police) are saying he's armed and dangerous, that says he has a target on him that says 'Shoot to kill,' Debby Carpenter said.

Carpenter's brother, Charles, spoke to WDRB on Wednesday evening, and made a plea for his brother to turn himself in.

"John, don't be stupid. Get ahold of me. come see me. I can take care of you and get you in safe," said Charles Carpenter.

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