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Prosecutors: Teen Had AR-15 During Fatal Shootings


A 17-year-old charged in this week’s fatal shootings at a Normal apartment was allegedly wielding three guns that night—including an AR-15 rifle.

Christopher B. Harrison was charged with 16 counts Friday, including first-degree murder, unlawful possession of guns and ammunition, and drug possession. Authorities say he shot and killed Joseph F. Gardner, 20, and Reginald Hart Jr., 19, both from Bloomington, on Wednesday at the Lancaster Heights apartment complex.

Prosecutors say Harrison had the AR-15, a Beretta 9 mm handgun, and a Remington 780 shotgun, plus ammo. Harrison is also charged with unlawful possession of more than 30 grams of cannabis with intent to deliver. Police said previously that Wednesday’s fatal confrontation may have been drug-related.

Authorities haven’t spelled out their theory of what led to the shootings.

Gardner and Hart were found unresponsive around 10 p.m. Wednesday, just inside the doorway of an apartment at 1444 E. College Ave. Police said immediately that the public was in no additional danger, indicating they had identified a suspect. On Thursday, authorities announced Harrison’s arrested; he was formally charged Friday.

“This was a very sad situation and what I’d say was a senseless act,” Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner said Thursday. “We’re all saddened by what occurred and for the families who have to go through this.”

Harrison is being held on $3 million bond.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
Baylee Steelman joined us in November 2016. She is a journalism major graduating in May 2018. She mainly covers Bloomington City and Normal Town Council meetings, Unit 5 School Board meetings, produces the weekend News In Review, and helps run GLT events. Baylee also produces and anchors at TV-10, Illinois State University's student TV news station.
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