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Charges filed against man held in shootings that left 1 dead, 1 wounded
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Charges filed against man held in shootings that left 1 dead, 1 wounded

Joshua Cornelison

Joshua Cornelison

MICHIGAN CITY — A 37-year-old man was charged Friday in two shootings last week that left one man dead and another wounded, police said.

Joshua Cornelison, of Michigan City, was arrested about an hour after the second shooting July 13, Michigan City police Sgt. Steve Forker said.

Cornelison is scheduled to make an initial appearance Tuesday before LaPorte Superior Court Judge Jaime Oss, online court records showed.

He's being held without bond on charges of murder, attempted murder, burglary, theft and misdemeanor criminal mischief.

Join Tristan DeFord, Jami Rieck, and Nancy Zakutanksky on a shift working for Superior Ambulance in Merrillville.

Michigan City police were dispatched about 9:20 p.m. July 13 to the 1100 block of Buffalo Street for a report of an unconscious man bleeding from the head. 

Aaron Luncsford, 39, of Michigan City, was found wounded on the living room floor of the residence. The officer who arrived on scene checked for a pulse and found a faint heartbeat, according to an affidavit from Officer Kay Pliske, a detective with Michigan City police.

The person who called 911 came into the residence when the officer was there and said he was upstairs when he heard a loud "boom" that sounded like a gunshot, the affidavit said. After he heard the sound, he looked outside and saw a male driving off on an orange and red motorcycle.

Luncsford was taken to Franciscan Health hospital in Michigan City for a gunshot wound to the jawline, where he later died, police said. 

Police were dispatched about 15 minutes later to the 100 block of West Homer Street after a 43-year-old Michigan City resident was shot in the neck, Forker said.

The victim was sitting in his car when a man on a motorcycle drove up to him and asked him a question.

A witness told he was going to walk his dogs when he noticed a man standing next to a motorcycle. He'd never seen the man in the area before, so he waited until he left to start walking his dogs. 

When he started walking, he noticed the victim in his car, looking at his phone with his head wobbling, but didn't think much of it since the victim is known to be in his car listening to music, the affidavit said.

About 10 minutes later, when the witness returned from his walk, the victim had the car door open, with blood on him, and asked for help. The victim told him to get his aunt, the affidavit said.

A woman who was nearby told an officer she heard a loud motorcycle go by and then a loud pop, the affidavit said. Ten minutes later she heard a lady outside screaming for help and asking for someone to call the police. 

She then went outside toward the car with the victim and started to apply pressure to his neck after noticing he was bleeding, the affidavit said. 

A neighbor called the woman and said she got a Ring Doorbell notification with a video of a white male, with a motorcycle and tattoos knocking on her door, the affidavit said. The video was emailed to the Michigan City police for identification of the suspect.

The victim was taken to a local hospital and later to South Bend Memorial Hospital in stable condition.

Two detectives spoke to the victim at the hospital, the affidavit said. He told them he was sitting in his vehicle outside his residence when a man on a motorcycle drove up and said he was looking for his friend's house. 

The man told the victim his name was Josh and asked for his name. The victim said he gave the man his name and then the man pulled away, made a U-turn and came back, the affidavit said.

He then heard a boom and that was when he was shot. 

Just before 10:30 p.m. that night, officers were dispatched to the 500 block of Decatur Street for a residential entry with a subject upstairs, the affidavit said. 

A man told officers he was there when he noticed the basement door was kicked in and heard someone upstairs. Officers observed that the door was forcefully entered with the trim split in half, it said. 

Police cleared the lower level and went upstairs where they heard a lot of movement in another part of the building. One officer saw the shoulder of a man behind a cabinet and told him to come out and show his hands, the affidavit said. 

The man, who was identified as Cornelison, complied, and a handgun was found behind the cabinet where he was standing. 

Cornelison was transported to the police department and placed in a padded cell, the affidavit said.

Just after 1 a.m. on July 14, the affidavit said Cornelison was seen tampering with the emergency fire sprinkler head in his cell. It caused the fire alarms to sound and the cell to flood causing approximately $850 worth of damage. 

While in the hospital, the victim was shown a photo of Cornelison and identified him as being the person who shot him, the affidavit said, and Cornelison identified himself in the doorbell footage that was submitted to police.

Cornelison told police he can't have a gun, so one won't be registered in his name, but he had one for protection because of threats being made against his son, the affidavit said. 

Cornelison answered no when asked how much he paid for the gun or if he traded something for it, it said. 

The serial number from the gun recovered when Cornelison was arrested matches the serial number of a gun a woman reported missing from her residence after Cornelison was there helping her with a sound bar, the affidavit said.

When Cornelison was at her home, the woman left him alone to use the restroom, but later noticed the key to her gun lock box was turned, she told officers in the affidavit.

Police Chief Dion Campbell commended his officers for their work on the case. 

"This particular case was highly disturbing on so many levels," Campbell said. "We are very appreciative of the hard work and quick apprehension of the suspect who could have killed additional people if not identified, located and arrested."

Anyone with information about the shootings is asked to call Detective Cpl. Kay Pliske at 219-874-3221, ext. 1086, or email kpliske@emichigancity.com.

Information also can be sent through the Michigan City Police Department Facebook Messenger. The department's crime tip hotline is 219-873-1488. 

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Education Reporter

AnnMarie Hilton is an education reporter for The Times. She grew up in a Chicago suburb and studied journalism at Northwestern University. Before coming to The Times, she worked as a business reporter in Wisconsin.

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