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17-year-old charged as an adult in carjack try


The 17-year-old who shot a man during a botched carjacking was formally charged as an adult Monday in Whitley County, according to the county prosecutor’s office.

Dakota Kimbler of Rome City faces felony charges of attempted murder, attempted carjacking and possession of stolen property, along with a misdemeanor charge of possession of a handgun without a license. He was being held without bail at the Whitley County Jail.

On Sunday morning, officers were dispatched to Indiana 5 and West Old Trail Road, west of Larwill, where they found Kimbler and the shooting victim, the prosecutor’s office said.

The victim told investigators he finished his shift at Paragon Medical in Pierceton at 7 a.m. and left for home in his car. After leaving Kosciusko County and entering Whitley County, the man noticed Kimbler in his back seat, the prosecutor’s office said.

During a confrontation, Kimbler shot the man in the chest with a handgun, the prosecutor’s office said.

Despite his wound, the man wrestled the gun from Kimbler and held him at gunpoint while he called police and awaited their arrival.

The man was treated at a hospital and later sent home to recover, the prosecutor’s office said.

Investigators learned that Kimbler had run away from the Pierceton Woods juvenile facility in Pierceton on Saturday night.

The CEO of Lifeline, a Fort Wayne-based group that runs Pierceton Woods, declined to comment on Kimbler’s case or provide information about how he escaped because he is a juvenile.

“However, I can tell you that nothing like this has happened in Lifeline’s 44-year history,” Mark Terrell said in a statement. “We will certainly review all our current policies and procedures for ways we can improve them.”

On Monday, another employee of Paragon Medical reported to the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department that his handgun was missing from his vehicle, sheriff’s department spokesman Sgt. Chad Hill said. That weapon turned out to be the gun Kimbler used in the shooting, Hill said.

Kimbler appeared in court Monday for an initial hearing. His next court appearance is set for Jan. 7.