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Suspect injured after shooting outside Curbside in Carbondale

A police officer fired on an active shooter early Saturday morning outside Curbside in Carbondale, leaving the suspect with life-threatening injuries, according to the City of Carbondale Police Department.

At about 2:13 a.m. Saturday, an officer was approaching the business at 227 W. Main St. on routine patrol and heard what sounded like gunshots. Upon arrival, the officer saw a black male firing a gun in the direction of a large crowd of people.

To protect the public from injury, the officer engaged the suspect, firing at him and wounding him, the news release states.

Carbondale police officers performed life-saving medical procedures on the suspect while waiting for an ambulance. The suspect was flown to a St. Louis-area hospital for emergency medical treatment.

The identity of the shooting suspect is not being released at this time.

As the shooting involves an officer, Illinois State Police are leading the investigation.

Anyone with information about the shooting is encouraged to call the Carbondale Police Department at 618-457-3200, Illinois State Police Zone 7 at 618-542-2171 or Crime Stoppers at 618-549-2677.

Illinois General Assembly | Gun Control
Illinois lawmakers again consider gun control after Las Vegas shooting

The General Assembly will gather for its fall veto session on Tuesday with gun control legislation to consider again in light of national tragedy, including a provision to ban "bump stocks," the devices used by the gunman in what is now the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

At least two bills are being considered following the shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and more than 500 wounded on Oct. 1.

House Bill 4107 introduced Oct. 5 by state Rep. Martin Moylan, a Des Plaines Democrat, would ban the sale of bump stocks, as well as assault weapons, large-caliber rifles and large-capacity magazines, described in the bill as holding 10 or more rounds of ammunition. Senate Bill 1657 would create state licensing for gun dealers and was filed by state Rep. Kathleen Willis, a Democrat from Addison.

“Gun control is a sore subject with gun enthusiasts,” said Dan Cooley, owner of The Bullet Trap in Macon. “We're keeping our customers abreast of the situation, and as soon as we can, we'll go ahead and file witness slips,” Cooley said, referring to formal objections to legislation that can be filed by individuals or groups. “We're giving instructions on our Facebook page for customers who want to object to it.”

Moylan has previously proposed similar measures, but they haven't passed the legislature. He thinks circumstances may change since it was discovered that Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, had reserved hotel rooms in Chicago overlooking the Lollapalooza music festival last summer. Paddock didn't use the rooms.

"I'm passionate about it this time because of the events that happened in Las Vegas," Moylan said. "Especially since the guy was scoping out a Chicago site, I think this bears a lot of weight on it. I would hope I get a lot of support, both on Republicans and Democrats."

HB 4107 is scheduled for a hearing before the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee at 3 p.m. Tuesday. SB 1657, which was filed in the Senate in February, is on the legislative calendar for a third reading and floor debate in the House, which is followed by a vote. It passed the Senate on April 27.

But finding support among Central Illinois lawmakers may prove problematic for the bills’ sponsors.

“As a strong supporter of our constitutional rights, I will be voting against these anti-Second Amendment bills, and I urge my colleagues in the General Assembly to do the same,” said state Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, who is not seeking re-election in 2018.

State Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, said he would oppose Moylan’s bill if it comes up for a vote in its current form.

“I represent a diverse Senate district, and my goal has always been to weigh all opinions on every piece of legislation, and that approach has been no different and will be no different for Moylan's bills. He has several bills or any bills that deal with gun control.

“Two sides of a very important debate are talking past each other, and I think the key to this is I think trying to find common ground.”

Recent tragedies

Las Vegas is the most recent mass shooting that has caught the nation’s attention and sparked gun control talk in Illinois, which has spent years grappling with gun violence in Chicago while feeling pushback from downstate gun rights supporters.

Paddock fired hundreds of rifle rounds from his suite on the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel into a crowd of concertgoers Oct. 1 in Las Vegas. About an hour after Paddock fired his last shot, he was found dead in his room from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His motive remains unknown.

During his attack, Paddock used a “bump stock” to have his weapons mimic automatic firing. The devices, originally intended to help people with disabilities, fit over the stock and pistol grip of a semiautomatic rifle and allow the weapon to fire continuously, about 400 to 800 rounds in a single minute. Bump stocks were found among the guns Paddock used.

On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, killed 49 people and wounded 58 others inside Pulse, a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. He was shot and killed by Orlando Police Department officers after a three-hour standoff.

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and six adult staff members. Prior to driving to the school, he shot and killed his mother at their Newtown home. As first responders arrived at the scene, Lanza killed himself.

Chicago’s homicide rate is ahead of the pace set in 2016, when it reached 400 homicides by July 31. There were 781 homicides in 2016, but the city didn’t see its 400th killing until August. According to a homicide database compiled by the Chicago Sun-Times, at least two homicides have occurred per day so far in 2017, and the city reached its 400th homicide on July 31.

Gun control legislation following mass shootings often focus on “assault weapons,” and high-capacity magazines that the killers often use. In addition to those, Moylan’s proposal also addresses large-caliber ammunition, such as a .50-caliber bullet, used mostly in machine guns and sniper rifles by militaries worldwide, but also for some hunting.

Taking sides

No one at the Locked & Loaded gun store near Pana is surprised legislators are making another run at more gun control measures in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre. But store co-owner and gunsmith Jarred Agney said that, as usual, it's misdirected effort.

Agney said lawmakers call for bans on rifles labeled as “assault weapons” based on looks, like having a pistol grip, while having no idea how the weapons work. “Some of these 'assault weapon' features you can find on bolt-action rifles,” he said.

The gunsmith said describing a high-capacity magazine as holding 10 or more bullets was also ridiculous. “Many pistols today hold significantly more than 10 rounds,” he added. “Picking 10 is just taking an arbitrary number.”

Agney said the mass murderer of Las Vegas was an evil man intent on performing an evil act. He said lawmakers want someone to blame in the aftermath, and something to ban, and the anti-gun lobby look for an opportunity to push their legislative agenda. But he said the bottom line is there is no law that would have stopped the Las Vegas shooter, or anyone bent on doing others harm.

Agney said Locked & Loaded doesn't sell bump stocks and said for most shooting purposes they are useless. But he doesn't like the idea of legislation to ban them because he doesn't trust Illinois politicians who, he said, are always looking for the thin end of a wedge issue.

“What will happen, and we've seen it a hundred times, is they will have one issue and then pack everything else behind it,” he said, referring to other gun laws and restrictions.

But the legislation is a piece of a puzzle, said Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Hand Gun Violence.

"We are supportive of the measure. I don't think weapons of war should be on our streets," she said. "We ban automatic weapons for a reason. Bump stocks are not something people should have access to."

It's part of a bigger issue of people having easy access to guns and the illegal trafficking of them, Daley said.

"We definitely need to see some changes," she said.

The Illinois State Rifle Association, the state arm of the National Rifle Association, said it is keeping an eye on all legislation as it relates to gun rights, but Executive Director Richard Pearson said he doesn’t see much to support in the latest proposals.

“We oppose it ... no wiggle room (on Moylan's bill),” Pearson said. “There's a lot of bills out there right now; there's several bump stocks bills, so we'll be looking at those to see if there's anything we can deal with there. We're still watching things being proposed. We'll see what happens; we always look at legislation.”

While Moylan’s bill dealing with weapons and ammunition is just beginning its legislative journey, the bill to require state licensing of gun dealers has made it all the way to a floor vote in the House after clearing all its legislative hurdles since being introduced in February and passing the Senate.

Willis, the Addison Democrat, said 16 states already require a state license for gun dealers in addition to a federal license.

"This bill is something that has been worked on for 15 years," Willis said. "I don't think that it is definitely tied to the Las Vegas shootings. I think this is a good business practice bill."

Agney called it a pointless exercise that will achieve nothing: “It serves no purpose because we're already regulated by the federal government with pretty good oversight.”

Bullet Trap owner Cooley is against that, too. Firearms dealers already keep meticulous records, he said, and already have cameras in their establishments, and adding another layer of regulation is unnecessary.

Rocky ground

Common ground may prove an elusive goal, given the dichotomy of Chicago-area vs. downstate lawmakers, in addition to the Republican/Democrat divide on the issue, in Illinois.

State Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, prefaced that he had not read the legislation in full yet and would not make a final judgment until then, but he is opposed to what he did know of the two bills.

State Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, and state Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, did not return messages seeking comment.

Righter called the Moylan’s measure an emotional and political response.

"This is a pattern that we see in Springfield on a regular basis," Righter said. "There is a tragedy and the response from some in the general assembly is, well, let's go file a gun control measure that may or may not have affected the situation."

To Righter, gun violence is generally caused by those with mental illness or those with a "lack of respect for the sanctity of innocent life in some communities."

"Clamping down more on law-abiding gun owners who have passed the criteria necessary to get a FOID (Firearm Owner’s Identification Card) or passed what was necessary to get a concealed-carry does nothing to address these issues," Righter said, speaking of an assault rifle ban.

He felt similarly about the state licensing measure.

"It is duplicitous. We have a federal system," Righter said. "The federal government has far more resources. ... What are the gaps in the federal system that this would fill?"

Mitchell was more pronounced in his opposition.

“The liberal Chicago politicians are once again pushing their radical, gun-grabbing agenda in Springfield. Democrats have filed another so-called assault weapons ban and have advanced a highly restrictive gun dealer licensing bill to the House floor for a final vote in the coming weeks,” Mitchell said. “Law-abiding gun owners should not have their rights trampled upon by out-of-touch politicians looking to score cheap political points in the wake of recent tragedies.”

Said Manar: “My opinion about this issue is reflective of the Senate district I represent. I can tell you today that there are many people in the 48th District that support Moylan's bill and many people that oppose it.

"And I think my approach has always been the same, and especially bills that deal with firearms, you weigh the pros and cons and the different sides of the argument and try to make the best decision you can make.”

— The Associated Press contributed to this story, along with Herald & Review staff writers Claire Hettinger, Tom Lisi, Tony Reid, Valerie Wells and Ryan Voyles and the Journal Gazette/Times-Courier staff writer Jarad Jarmon.

Murphysboro City Council to discuss railroad's attempt to charge residents to access their homes

MURPHYSBORO — The way Charles Milton sees it, Union Pacific railroad company telling neighbors that they can't use a road they've used forever to access their property has a lot to do with trestle bridge work the railway giant is about to undertake.

Milton, of Murphysboro, has an entry to his home off that road, North 23rd Street, but points out that the main entry to his home is off Logan Street, which intersects 23rd Street.

A few weeks ago, his neighbors and the owner of a business, Hines Oil Co., were told by the railroad that they could only use the road — which takes them right to their business and homes — if they paid the company a fee of $83 a month.

On Friday, Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens said he could not discuss this issue or the one concerning the city, but did say the issue will be discussed at Tuesday night's City Council meeting. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the City Hall Council Chambers, 202 N. 11th St.

The issue

This section of North 23rd Street dead-ends to the south in a thicket of trees and brush, which is about two city blocks from where the city of Murphysboro has been told it needs to remove city water mains, at its expense, as the railroad undertakes construction work on the bridge overpass. The bridge work is part of an $85 million project the railroad is undertaking across the country.

At a past City Council meeting, aldermen and city officials have discussed who exactly owns the property, as they have looked for records with an indication of ownership. A few weeks ago, the mayor was scheduled to meet with a railroad representative.

A city official has said the railroad construction work is to begin in early 2018.

Other council news

In addition to discussing the 23rd Street issue and the railroad overpass construction project, City Council members also plan to discuss voluntary annexation agreements for businesses outside the city limits; a draft contract for grant-writing services; a funding resolution for a bike trail; a police chaplain program; a request for a stop sign on North 19th Street; an ordinance amending zoning from a SR-2 to B-1 Zoning District along Walnut Street from 2104 to 2136 Walnut St., on the north side, and from 2101 to 2203 Walnut St. on the south side; consideration of an ordinance amending the zoning from a B-1 to an SR-2 Zoning District along the south side of Pine Street from 1515 to 1527 Pine St.

To view the agenda and past council minutes, visit

Shooting in Carbondale leaves 1 injured

One person suffered a possible life-threatening gunshot wound early Saturday morning in Carbondale.

At about 3:18 a.m. Saturday, officers with the City of Carbondale Police Department responded to a report of a gunshot victim on the 500 block of South Ash Street.

The individual had suffered a possible life-threatening gunshot wound and was taken to a St. Louis-area hospital, police said in a news release.

The victim is not being identified and the investigation is active. There is currently no suspect information to provide, police said.

The incident was the second shooting early Saturday morning. Police do not have anything to indicate the South Ash Street incident is related to the other shooting that occurred about an hour earlier, about half a mile away outside Curbside at 227 W. Main St., Chief Jeff Grubbs said in a text message. 

Anyone with information about the shooting is encouraged to call the Carbondale Police Department at 618-457-3200 or Crime Stoppers at 618-549-2677.

SIUC researcher receives $80,000 grant to study disaster recovery in Houston

CARBONDALE — A Southern Illinois University Carbondale researcher’s latest project asks a deceptively simple question: What will Hurricane Harvey reveal to the people of Houston?

Roberto Barrios, associate professor of anthropology at SIUC, has studied disaster reconstruction after major catastrophic events for the past 18 years. He has been awarded an $80,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study disaster recovery in Houston after Hurricane Harvey, which devastated the city in late August.

“For anthropologists, disasters are what we call ‘revelatory crises,’” Barrios said. “Disasters, I think, in the general culture are often thought of in terms of very acute, specific events … but for anthropologists, disasters are more historical premises. It’s about everything that comes before an earthquake or a hurricane.”

Barrios previously studied housing reconstruction and resettlement programs in Honduras after Hurricane Mitch. He also conducted an ethnographic study of disaster recovery planning in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Crises occur at the intersection of geophysical phenomena and human- or society-created vulnerabilities, he said: they bring to light conditions that had been previously ignored.

“Hurricane Katrina occurred in a time when many Americans may have been saying that we were living in a post-racial society, and Hurricane Katrina made us confront the fact that there are tremendous inequities in poverty … that sometimes manifest along racial lines, and also inequities in the distribution of vulnerability — who gets to live in areas that are flood-prone, who is forced to live in those areas,” Barrios said.

After Hurricane Harvey, Barrios and his colleague, Raja Swamy of University of Tennessee, Knoxville, became interested in what the disaster would reveal for different social actors in the city of Houston.

“Often what a disaster reveals is in the eye of the beholder,” Barrios said. “For example, when Hurricane Katrina occurred, for certain televangelists … for them it revealed something different (than it did to anthropologists). For them it didn’t necessarily reveal racial and class inequities in America; for them it revealed the fact that God was angry with America because we are OK with gay marriage.”

He and Swamy plan to conduct intense ethnographic interviews with a wide range of people who represent the diversity of the city to learn how they interpret the disaster and how they hope to rebuild.

“The reason it’s important is because, depending on what the disaster reveals for whom, that’s going to be tied to what a person considers necessary in terms of policy for reconstruction,” he said.

The researchers already made one trip to Houston earlier this month to conduct preliminary research.

“One of the interesting things that we have found … is that for many of residents of Houston, particularly those of lesser means, especially those who are Latino, for them what the disaster reveals is a disaster that is not visible but was already present in the city of Houston, which has to do with issues of environmental justice and the toxicity of many petroleum and petrochemical refinery plants that are causing very high levels of things like childhood leukemia,” Barrios said.

Barrios and Swamy plan to conduct more interviews over the January intercession and return for follow-up interviews in March. The bulk of their research will be conducted over a two-month period this summer, and in the fall, they’ll prepare an ethnographic report of Houston. They hope to get the grant renewed to continue their research the following year.

“We’ll help people understand the socioeconomic diversity of the city of Houston and how socioeconomic sectors experienced the disaster, in terms of who flooded and who didn’t, but also who experienced other forms of disaster, like toxic exposure from those petrochemical companies,” he said.