Bloomington Police Arrest Knife-Wielding Man on Indiana Unversity Campus Wednesday Morning

Staff report

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – August 30, 2023

Bloomington Police Department officers apprehended a knife-wielding man on the Indiana University (IU) campus earlier today. The incident occurred at approximately 11:15 a.m. near the intersection of 4th Street and Dunn Street, according to a press release from BPD.

According to police, multiple 911 callers reported witnessing two women running and shouting that they were being pursued by a man brandishing a knife. The man was last seen near the Sample Gates, located at the crossroads of Kirkwood Avenue and Indiana Avenue. A bystander flagged down an officer, directing their attention to the suspect’s location.

The suspect had ventured east through the Sample Gates and onto a pathway within the Indiana University campus. The suspect scaled a ledge near the south entrance of the Indiana Memorial Union, where he was subsequently engaged by the approaching officer. Following verbal commands, the suspect, identified as 22-year-old Karsten Harshbarger from Indianapolis, was taken into custody without incident at 11:23 a.m. Law enforcement discovered a knife in close proximity to where Harshbarger had perched on the ledge. Additionally, a search incident to arrest yielded suspected drugs in his possession, according to the BPD.

Police said the investigation revealed that two 20-year-old women, who were located and interviewed, were the apparent targets of Harshbarger’s actions. The victims recounted that as they were walking towards the IU campus, Harshbarger, an unfamiliar man, began trailing them near the intersection of 4th Street and Grant Street.

When one of the women looked back to ascertain the reason for the unease, Harshbarger reportedly stood within a few feet of them. It was at this time that he extracted a folding knife from his pocket, unfolded the blade, and directed it menacingly at one of the women. In response to the threat, both women fled the intersection, urgently seeking help on campus.

Karsten Harshbarger has been taken to the Monroe County Jail, where he faces several charges, including Intimidation While Armed with a Deadly Weapon, a level 5 felony, and Possession of a Controlled Substance, a level 6 felony.

In another incident, a woman who was on the southside of Bloomington Wednesday morning told the Bloomingtonian about a menacing man with a folding knife who had crouched on the side of the B-Line trail in a suspicious manner. Then when another woman was headed toward him on the trail, he took out a knife. Both women walked North to get away from him and called the police.

It’s unknown if the two incidents are related, and the Bloomingtonian was going to check with the police Thursday, but in the meantime, this press release was distributed about a similar situation.

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