At least 69 gunfire incidents in Bloomington-Normal recorded in 2022
Bloomington-Normal saw a significant increase in gunfire incidents in 2022, including five people who were killed and another 12 who were injured, according to police tallies and WGLT reporting.
There were at least 69 shooting incidents — the most in at least four years. 2018 remains the worst year for gun violence in Bloomington-Normal in recent history, when nine people were shot and killed and seven others were injured.
As in years past, 2022’s spate of gunfire touched all corners of Bloomington-Normal. An 18-year-old was injured in a shooting at a north Normal apartment complex. Police are still trying to solve the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Dylan Meserole on Bloomington’s west side. Police say a Texas man fatally shot his son and spouse and then killed himself inside an apartment in southeast Bloomington, near State Farm’s Corporate South complex.
The 69 gunfire incidents in Bloomington-Normal in 2022 include:
- In Bloomington, there were five fatal shootings, 10 shootings involving a non-fatal injury, and 27 other incidents in which shots were fired but no one was hit.
- In Normal, there were no fatal shootings, two shootings involving a non-fatal injury, and 25 other incidents in which shots were fired but no one was hit.
Normal Police Chief Steve Petrilli said recording zero homicides in 2022 is an important metric; there were three gun homicides in 2021.
“Within recent months, we have had a slight uptick in incidents that we’re responding to, in which we’ve been able to validate that shots have been fired. Luckily in the majority of these incidents, there haven’t been injuries,” Petrilli said. “That’s been something that’s been at the top of our radar as of late, and we’re taking active steps to address that.”
There were around 20,138 gun deaths (excluding suicides) in 2022 in the U.S., according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive and reported by The Trace. That’s a slight decline from 2021, a year that saw the most gun deaths on record.
Gun violence is the primary focus of the Department of Justice, said Gregory Harris, the U.S. attorney for Central Illinois. He says the attorney general has asked U.S. attorneys to do more community outreach work across their district, which is a shift in strategy, Harris said.
“We’re trying to get a handle on how to deal with this problem, both nationally and locally, and what strategies we can employ to deal with this type of gun violence,” Harris said.
New gun law in Illinois
In Illinois, lawmakers this week passed a bill banning the sale, distribution and manufacture of high-powered assault-style weapons, .50 caliber rifles and ammunition, and large-capacity magazines while still allowing people who already own such weapons to keep them. Gov. JB Pritzker signed it into law Tuesday night.
The McLean County chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America applauded the new law. The group had traveled to Springfield, made calls, wrote letters, and filled out witness slips to lobby lawmakers to pass it, said Karen Irvin, chapter leader.
The Fourth of July shootings in Highland Park was a mobilizing moment, she said.
“We’re just really pleased that action was taken as quickly as it has been, with a lot of work from a lot of volunteers,” she said.
Irvin also noted that lawmakers increased the duration of a Firearm Restraining Order (FRO) – also known as a red flag law – from six months to up to one year. Those are civil court orders that temporarily remove firearms from individuals who are a potential danger to themselves or others. They were created in Illinois in 2019, though they are not often used.
“We really are glad to see that part of it. We know how important FROs are,” Irvin said.
As for what’s next, Irvin said they’re going to “take a breath and celebrate this.”
“There’s a lot more to be done, but we’re really feeling successful today,” she said.