Starke County Police Release More Details about Thursday’s Fatal Shooting

Starke County Sheriff Bill Dulin, Chief Detective Adam Gray, and Detective Sergeant Don Ferguson answer questions about Thursday’s shooting during a press conference Friday

More details are being released in the shooting death of a Starke County man on Thanksgiving Day. Starke County Police say it was Randall Bailey’s 75th birthday, when he was shot to death by his wife’s nephew, James Campbell, 52.

Chief Detective Adam Gray discussed the incident during a press conference Friday afternoon. “The witnesses told us that, basically, Mr. Campbell was over at Mr. Bailey’s residence,” Gray explained. “There was a verbal argument that ensued. During the verbal argument, Mr. Campbell fired two rounds, one striking Mr. Bailey, and the second one, we believe at this point, from the evidence we’ve found, is a ricochet. There were five witnesses to the shooting.”

Gray says Campbell then apparently left the home and went southbound on County Road 550 East and then turned east on Toto Road. A Knox City Police K9 unit reportedly caught up to the vehicle, and a pursuit began. “The pursuit lasted almost 30 minutes, traveling over the southern part of the county, down state roads, county roads, running traffic off the road,” Gray continued. “The suspect was going into head-on traffic and caused several vehicles to leave the roadway.”

Sheriff Bill Dulin adds that Campbell’s vehicle was towing a trailer carrying semi tires. “And they were coming off as they were driving and bouncing off the road,” Dulin said.

Gray says the Sheriff’s Department, North Judson Police, and DNR Conservation Officers also joined the pursuit. It then ended up in a cornfield near county roads 400 West and 150 South, and two deputies then pursued Campbell on foot. “The suspect was tazed,” Gray continues. “Even after being tazed, he continued to fight off officers. At that point, the Knox K9 unit was on the scene and was deployed, and the suspect was taken into custody by the K9 without further incident.”

Police don’t know what the argument was about, and no motive has been determined at this point. Detective Gray says the weapon has not been recovered, and at this point, he doesn’t believe Campbell was in legal possession of the firearm.

Campbell is being held without bond on a preliminary charge of murder. Gray expects that numerous other charges will also be filed. He adds that Campbell also has a $100,000 bond on an unrelated warrant. Gray notes that Campbell had previously been brought to trial for arson and was later acquitted.

Gray adds that Thursday’s incident made for some difficult circumstances for an investigation. “I know, during the interviews, there was a lot of emotions that run on both sides,” he says. “It makes it hard for us, when you know that you’re talking to someone that just lost a loved one, not only on Thanksgiving but also on his birthday. And it takes a toll on investigators, when they’re talking to them because we know it’s hard for them, but we also have to get our information as soon as possible, to make sure that the suspect is apprehended, and we have the right person in jail.”

Sheriff Dulin stressed that the shooting is an isolated case and commended the witnesses and the public for giving police accurate descriptions of the suspect and the vehicle.

James Lee Campbell