Most shootings that begin with an altercation usually produce several witnesses, as well as at least one suspect. A recent shooting in the parking lot of a bar in Centreville, Illinois, appears to have left police searching for both a suspect and witnesses to the crime.
According to the manager of PT’s Nightclub, two men were ejected when they began a fight at about 4:00 a.m. Bar employees broke up the fight, and both men were escorted from the bar. The manager says that shots were heard coming from the bar’s parking lot. No eyewitnesses have come forward to describe what exactly what happened next, but the manager says that one of the men was fatally wounded. Early reports of the incident do not indicate whether the manager actually saw the shooting or whether he inferred the occurrence of the shooting from the gunshots that he heard.
Police received a call about the incident at approximately 4:30 a.m. Police were on their way to the bar when they received word that shots had been fired. Meanwhile, the victim had been transferred to Touchette Regional Hospital, where he died from his injuries soon after he arrived. Police said they found several shell casings in the parking lot, but they do not have many details about the shooting. Police have put out a general request for information about the fight and the shooting.
This case presents prosecutors with several problems. Most serious is the fact that no one apparently saw the shooting other than the shooter and his victim. Connecting a suspect with the crime may be very difficult without eyewitnesses. Second, many of the statements of the bar manager may be inadmissible hearsay because he does not appear to have witnessed the events that he described to police. Third, the search for witnesses may rely upon improper methods of interrogation or search. Anyone who is charged with a crime in similar circumstances may benefit from consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable defense lawyer can evaluate the evidence and suggest potential defenses based on improper investigation used by the police.