Crime & Courts

November 20, 2013

Four, including son, arrested in Valley Center-area shooting

Four people have been arrested in a Valley Center-area shooting that left a woman dead and her husband critically wounded, a sheriff’s official said Wednesday.

Four people have been arrested in a Valley Center-area shooting that left a woman dead and her husband critically wounded, a sheriff’s official said Wednesday.

One of the four arrested is Anthony J. Bluml, the 18-year-old adopted son of shooting victims Melissa Bluml and Roger Bluml, sheriff’s Capt. Greg Pollock said. Another person arrested is a San Diego woman, Kisha Schaberg, 35, who is Anthony Bluml’s biological mother, Pollock said. Anthony Bluml has spent time in California, Pollock said.

According to jail records, Anthony Bluml has been arrested on suspicion of first-degree intentional murder, attempted first-degree murder and burglary, and Schaberg has been arrested on suspicion of the same alleged crimes plus aggravated robbery.

Two 18-year-old Park City men also are among the four booked into jail. According to jail records, the men are Andrew W. Ellington and Braden M. Smith. Ellington has been booked on suspicion of first-degree intentional murder, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated robbery and burglary; and Smith has been booked on suspicion of first-degree intentional murder and attempted first-degree murder, according to the jail website.

All four people were arrested Tuesday and booked into jail between 11 a.m. and noon Wednesday, the records show. Bluml had initially been arrested, for failure to appear in a traffic case, at 11:30 p.m. Friday, sheriff’s spokesman Lt. David Mattingly said. The arrest in the traffic case occurred about two hours and 15 minutes after the shooting was reported to 911. Bluml was booked into jail Saturday night for failure to appear and was released on a $2,500 bond, jail records show.

Three of the four suspects attended Valley Center High School. Anthony Bluml and Ellington are graduates of the high school’s Class of 2013, school superintendent Cory Gibson said Wednesday. Smith attended the high school as well, until late 2011, Gibson said. Anthony Bluml wrestled for Valley Center High, finishing second in the 160-pound division at the Class 5A tournament in February. Anthony Bluml also played football, and Ellington competed in golf, Gibson said.

Anthony Bluml has a younger brother, Chris, who is a junior at the high school, Gibson said.

In a statement, Gibson said the school district and Sheriff’s Office “coordinated efforts to ensure all students and staff remained safe throughout the investigation.”

Authorities don’t expect any more arrests in the shooting at this time, although there is an ongoing investigation, Pollock said.

Pollock said the couple were found on property outside their house Friday night, but he wouldn’t elaborate, saying that he couldn’t release details that might jeopardize the investigation.

In comments that appear to have been posted by Smith and Anthony Bluml on their Twitter accounts the day before the shooting, Bluml’s timeline read: “I got ice in my veins, blood in my eyes, hate in my heart.” The comment, which also is a rap song lyric, was re-tweeted on Smith’s Twitter account. On the day of the shootings, Bluml’s timeline read “Remember the name,” followed the next day by the posting: “Dear mama, ill love you forever.”

Sedgwick County District Court records show that Anthony Bluml pleaded guilty this past July to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. He received a $100 fine. The charge had been amended from a count of misdemeanor assault filed in June.

Detectives will be searching for evidence within Sedgwick County at various locations, Pollock said. They have been working around the clock and expected to complete their extensive searches later Wednesday, he said.

No apparent law enforcement presence remained late Wednesday afternoon at the Blumls’ rural Sedgwick County home, near 109th Street North and Woodlawn. No other people were seen entering or leaving the property or the couple’s dark-trimmed yellow house or walking about on the grounds around 4 p.m.

A wrapped bouquet of red flowers lay at the entrance to the driveway.

Authorities instead seemed to focus at least some of their efforts on a small park north of K-96 and Woodlawn, where law enforcement spent part of Tuesday doing what a Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor called “follow-up.” A sheriff’s spokesman said he couldn’t disclose the reason for the investigation at the park.

As dusk fell Wednesday, a sheriff’s patrol car blocked the entrance to North Chisholm Creek Park. At least one other sheriff’s car, a fire truck and other vehicles could be seen in the park amid the tangle of trees and tall grasses near a lake.

Investigators expect to meet with prosecutors later this week to determine whether charges will be filed in the shooting, Pollock said.

He said investigators realize that a number of families have been affected by the shooting.

“We offer our condolences,” he said.

He also noted that the Sheriff’s Office has been assisted in its investigation by several area law enforcement agencies and the Sedgwick County Fire Department.

Funeral services have been set for Melissa Bluml, who was vice president of Chisholm Trail State Bank in Park City. Her obituary describes her as “loving wife and encouraging mom.” A vigil service will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, and the funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Friday, both at the Church of the Resurrection, 4910 N. Woodlawn. Downing & Lahey Mortuary East is handling arrangements.

The shootings have come as a blow to the Valley Center community because the Bluml couple have been so involved in school and community activities. When people held a community barbecue revolving around the football team, Melissa Bluml made more than 50 pounds of potato salad to feed everyone, said Anne Carter-Hainlen, owner of Anne’s Attic, a gift boutique in the small town. “That was just Melissa.”

Carter-Hainlen described the couple as “awesome parents” who “never missed a sporting event.”

Speaking of the Blumls’ son Chris, Anthony Bluml’s younger brother, she said, “Now he has a bunch of moms. There’s not one of us that are not going to look out after him. He’s a sweet kid, and he’s been through way too much.”

Carter-Hainlen and some other mothers have set up a fund to help raise money for the Bluml family’s needs in the short term. It is called the Bluml Family Fund and has been set up at Halstead Bank, 101 W. Industrial Ave., Valley Center, KS 67147.

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