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Friends and family remember victim in American Legion shooting

Teddy Braun // Photo provided by family

The American Legion Post 284 closed in South Bend after a young man was shot and killed inside Friday night.

They said in a Facebook statement the post will reopen Monday, December 17:

Teddy Braun, 25, was a regular at the Legion post on Grant Street. In fact, he was a bartender there.

On Saturday people touched by his death came by the post to remember him.

"I stood there for a moment and they told me he had passed away," said Zachary Holden, a friend of Teddy.

Zachary Holden says his best friend for the past 10 years was shot at the American Legion Post 284 in South Bend Friday night.

Holden had been waiting for Teddy at a nearby bar.

After learning the news, he rushed to the Legion post.

"It kind of didn’t hit me until I turned the corner and I saw the police here and the paramedics," said Holden.

Bruce Bennet, 59, is in custody, booked on preliminary suspicion of murder.

One of Teddy's relatives and a fellow bartender at the post tells us the man accused of killing Teddy was driving erratically outside the Legion building.

As people called police, it appeared Bennet was trying to leave. They say Teddy tried to prevent him from leaving and that's when the shooting occurred.

"There was a lot of anger, I was more angry than anything," said Holden.

"Even standing here now, it just seems like it hasn’t sunk in, like it’s all a bad dream," said Debra Hensel, a friend of Teddy.

It's a bad dream the Legion community can't wake up from.

Ever since it happened, people have been coming to the Legion post with heavy hearts, leaving mementos outside, creating a make-shift memorial in honor of Teddy.

"He was like a ray of light, he always had a smile, he was always joking around," said Hensel.

The Indiana commander of the American Legion issued a statement on the shooting saying, in part,

"Our thoughts and prayers are with South Bend Post 284 as they begin the mourning process. As an organization of veterans, we know the cost of violence."

We are told that a vigil for Teddy is planned for Sunday at the location where he died, set for 5:30 p.m.

Bruce Bennet, the man in custody, is expected to be formally charged on Monday.


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