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State's Attorney: Normal Police Officers 'Justified,' 'Heroic' In Fatal Shooting At Mobile Home Park

Body-worn camera footage released Friday shows the moments when Normal officers confronted a gunman after what authorities called a "killing spree" at a mobile home park.
State Police
Body-worn camera footage released Friday shows the moments when Normal officers confronted a gunman after what authorities called a "killing spree" at a mobile home park on Aug. 30.
Updated: September 11, 2021 at 6:55 PM CDT
Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner said the three officers involved in the shooting remain on administrative leave as the investigation into the incident continues.

McLean County State's Attorney Don Knapp said Friday three Normal Police officers were justified when they fatally shot a gunman during a "killing spree" that left two others dead and three injured.

Illinois State Police on Friday released police camera footage of the Aug. 30 incident at the Landings mobile home park in north Normal. Normal Police were called to the Landings at 3:44 p.m. for a report of an active shooter. Knapp said the officers knew there was an armed subject at large when they arrived, and that the person was firing into vehicles. Knapp said the subject approached officers and started firing at them.

Knapp called the officer’s actions "heroic" and said their conduct saved "several citizens' lives." He named the officers in his report: Shane Bachman, Evan Easter and Cory Phillips.

PDF: Read the State's Attorney's preliminary report

State Police identified the shooter as Ronald Reiner, 66, of Normal. An autopsy conducted Sept. 1 indicated Reiner died instantly of multiple gunshot wounds, including shots to the head. The two others who died in the shootings were Sharon Reiner, 64, and Julie Davis, 59, both of Normal.

McLean County State's Attorney Don Knapp
McLean County State's Attorney Don Knapp.

The three people who were hospitalized were all men, ages 34, 58 and 62. Their conditions are not available. Knapp confirmed the other shooting victims were all shot by Ronald Reiner. According to camera footage, officer Bachman saw Reiner in front of a neighboring mobile home and shot in Reiner’s direction. Bachman yells, “Drop the gun, drop it now!” Reiner looked toward Bachman and pointed his gun at officers.

Officers fired several shots at Reiner until he fell to the ground. Knapp said he does not know how many gunshots officers — or Reiner — fired. He added a complete State Police investigation into the incident is still ongoing and could take months to complete. Knapp added officers saw one gunshot victim near Linden Street as they advanced toward Reiner.

"This all occurred in a heavily populated residential neighborhood in the middle of the afternoon when children were arriving home from school,” said Knapp, adding it’s not clear why Reiner opened fire.

“We may never know why. I understand that the community is interested in why did this happen,” Knapp said. “That can sometimes be a complex question and unfortunately the only person that truly knows or may ever know is deceased.”

Knapp said he does not know whether Reiner had a history of domestic violence or medical conditions that could have influenced him. He added Reiner’s family offered few insights.

“I’m not going to put words into any family member’s mouth, but they certainly seemed surprised as anyone else that he would act in this manner,” Knapp said.

Knapp confirmed the other victims were all shot by Reiner. Police hit no one except Reiner, Knapp said.

Police recovered a handgun from the scene. Knapp did not say where Reiner’s gun came from.

Previously, Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner said the three officers were placed on administrative leave pending the State Police review. He said in an email Friday the department's internal investigation is still ongoing, but declined further comment. He also confirmed the officers remain on administrative leave.

"The Normal Police Department is grateful for the exhaustive work of the State's Attorney’s Office and the continuing work of the State Police. The State's Attorney’s release was extremely comprehensive, providing insight into what took place on the afternoon of Aug. 30th," Bleichner said in a statement.

Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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