Two shot at B'ville store

Wanda English Burnett

According to Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel two charges of Attempted Murder have been filed against James L. Fernbach, Jr., 32, of Batesville. The charges stem from a shooting at the Marathon Gas Station, more commonly known as the Day & Nite East on Highway 46 in Batesville, on Saturday, April 4. Attempted Murder is a Class A Felony that carries a penalty of 20-50 years imprisonment, if convicted
Information from the Probable Cause Affidavit states that Fernbach called 911 saying he had “shot someone.” The call came from the suspect’s home at 4273 East County Road 1150 North, shortly after the shooting occurred before 4 p.m.

A store clerk told WRBI Radio that Fernbach had just been in the store, and was a regular customer. She didn’t indicate that anything was amiss. However, when he walked outside, apparently without warning, he allegedly shot Phillip Ray Cruser, 56, of Westport. He also shot Benjamin Dick, 26, of Batesville, according to court records. Both were taken to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis where Cruser remains.

Dick had apparently struggled with the shooter, after he saw him shoot Cruser in the head. Cruser was in his vehicle in the parking area of the store when the incident occurred. Dick told police Fernbach turned the gun on him and “a struggle ensued.” As a result, Dick was shot in the hand as he attempted to block his head. Dick said as he ran into the store, he saw Fernbach attempting to reload the gun. No one else was shot in the incident.

According to the Probable Cause Affidavit, Fernbach arrived home and told his wife, Susan, and mother-in-law, Lynn Mattox, that he had shot someone. Susan said she saw her husband lay a handgun on a table inside their home. A search warrant was obtained Saturday night and and a handgun was retrieved. Also found was the Cavalier that Fernbach was described as driving away from the shooting incident.

Fernbach was taken into custody without incident at his home by Trooper James Wells, who was assisted by officers from the Ripley County Sheriff’s Office.

Right now authorities are not saying if the suspect even knew the victims. The incident is still under investigation by the Batesville Police Department, who was assisted by the Indiana State Police, Ripley and Franklin County Sheriff’s Departments, Osgood Police Department and the Ripley County Prosecutor’s Office.

An Initial Hearing will take place at 1 p.m. today, April 7 in Ripley County Circuit Court. Fernbach is incarcerated in the Ripley County Jail.

James L. Fernbach Jr.