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Corrections officer killed in ‘senseless’ drive-by shooting

Saint Joseph’s County Police Department

(MISHAWAKA, Ind.) — A young Indiana corrections officer who hoped to become a police officer has been killed in a drive-by shooting, authorities said.

St. Joseph County correctional officer Rhema Harris was killed around 6 p.m. Sunday “in yet another senseless act of violence,” St. Joseph County Sheriff William Redman said.

Harris, 28, was inside her home in Mishawaka, which is just outside of South Bend, when one bullet struck her in the chest, Mishawaka police’s detective bureau division chief Dan Gebo told ABC News.

The shooter then sped away and has not been identified, Gebo said.

The shooting was believed to be a retaliation in a feud, Gebo said, stressing that the corrections officer was not the target and she was just “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Several people were in the house with Harris, including minors, Gebo said.

Authorities have talked to several witnesses and persons of interest, Gebo said.

Harris was hired as a St. Joseph County correctional officer in July 2021 and was assigned to the midnight shift at the jail, Redman said.

“Rhema proudly served her country in the United States Army,” Redman said. “She received a national defense service award, global war on terrorism service medal and an Army service ribbon, before being honorably discharged in 2016.”

She hoped to become a St. Joseph County police officer, Redman said.

This drive-by shooting comes amid a concerning rise in gun violence. The U.S. lost 20,923 people to gun violence-related incidents last year, excluding suicides. Last year marked a big increase from 2020, when 19,515 died from gun violence, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

There are 200 million to 350 million guns in the U.S., according to estimates for this year from the World Population Review.

ABC News’ Nadine El-Bawab contributed to this report.

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