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Suspect in Wilderville shootings arrested following chance encounter in East Chicago, Indiana

The man suspected of attacking and seriously wounding two people in Josephine County at the end of September has been taken into custody.

Posted: Oct 23, 2019 9:34 AM
Updated: Oct 23, 2019 1:35 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The man suspected of seriously injuring two people in an attack near Wilderville late last month has been taken into custody, according to Josephine County Sheriff's Office records.

20-year-old Kyle Handing was arrested by officers with the East Chicago Police Department in Indiana on Tuesday.

The attack occurred on Monday, September 30 near Wilderville Lane off Highway 199. A man and a woman were both rushed to the hospital with gunshot wounds, initially listed in critical condition.

Several days later, on October 4, investigators began circulating pictures of the suspect — believed to be around 18 years old and named Kyle "Harding" or "Handing." The Sheriff's Office said that he spoke with a strong Chicago accent.

According to Deputy Chief Jose Rivera with East Chicago Police, Handing's arrest stemmed from a chance encounter that led to an attempted traffic stop.

“Basically we had no idea he was here,” Rivera said.

On Tuesday morning, a police officer spotted a black pickup going the wrong way down an East Chicago street. When the officer hit her lights, the driver failed to stop. After pursuing the pickup for about six blocks, the officer saw a man get out of the vehicle and run into a house.

During the pursuit, Rivera said, the officer ran the license plate on the pickup and saw that it was registered to a woman living at the house that the suspect had just run inside. The officer was then joined by other officers, who entered the house around 11:45 a.m. and arrested Handing without issue.

"It's a very, very quiet area," Rivera said, referring to the neighborhood where officers arrested Handing. "We might get a couple of calls a month there."

Initially, Handing was held for for fleeing arrest and possession of both marijuana and synthetic marijuana. It wasn't until later that police found out the suspect was wanted on a warrant out of Oregon for Attempted Murder 1 with a Firearm, Assault 1 with a Firearm, and Unlawful Use of a Weapon with a Firearm.

Following that realization, East Chicago Police got a search warrant for the house and car, finding five knives in the house. Rivera said that they would all be turned over to Oregon State Police. Investigators in Josephine County recovered a gun from the Wilderville crime scene, but were looking for a specific knife that had also been used in the crime.

Two OSP troopers are in East Chicago now to interview Handing and check the car he was driving — a 2000 Chevy registered to Elizabeth Handing, his mother.

“We’re more than happy to ship him back to Oregon anytime you want him,” Rivera said. However, prosecutors in both Lake County, Indiana and back in Josephine County have yet to determine whether Handing will be immediately extradited or if he will be prosecuted for the initial charges first.

Rivera doesn’t think Handing was familiar with the area, otherwise he’d not have been driving in the wrong direction.

“We’re not too far from the Illinois state line,” Rivera said. If Handing had been going the correct way, Rivera speculated, the officer would not have stopped him. Handing could have been in Illinois or Michigan within a few minutes.

Handing's initial bail has been set at $500,000. He is currently being kept in the East Chicago jail, but will soon be transferred to the Lake County jail.

East Chicago lies southeast of Chicago, Illinois. It sits along the shores of Lake Michigan, just across the Indiana state line.

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