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How Police Found Their Suspect In Bloomington's Double Homicide

Hammet Brown
Bloomington Police Department

Bloomington Police weren’t getting a lot of help from witnesses when they first arrived at the scene of a shooting outside an apartment building in east Bloomington.

It happened around 1 a.m. on a Sunday morning, June 10, during a large gathering at the apartment on Orchard Road. Killed in the gunfire were Taneshiea Brown, 20, and Steven Alexander, 18, both from Bloomington. Two others—Kenleia Sims and Tyree Jones—were shot in the legs but survived.

Initially, no one was talking.

“Very few of the subjects were cooperative with responding officers and they initially provided little suspect information,” Bloomington detectives wrote in a court document.

Within a few hours, police got an anonymous tip that the shooter was Hammet Brown, 26, who lived on Orchard Road, according to the court document detectives used to get their arrest warrant on Brown. A second person told police Hammet Brown and Alexander got into an argument shortly before the shooting. Police were told the two men were in rival hybrid street gangs—MOB and FBMG 200.

Other witnesses told police they saw Hammet Brown with or shooting a handgun that night, court records show. At least one identified Brown as the shooter in a photo lineup, records show. (Hammet Brown and Taneshiea Brown are not related.)

A judge issued an arrest warrant for Brown on June 14—four days after the shooting.

Police chose not to alert the public they had a suspect in mind.

“Sometimes it might be safer and more time efficient for us to (search for a suspect) without sharing that information,” Bloomington Police Chief Clay Wheeler said. “Sometimes we might make the decision that it is necessary to ask the public for help in that matter.”

Twelve days later, Bloomington Police tracked Brown—nicknamed “Law”—to the south side of Chicago, in the 7100 block of S. Seeley Avenue. Brown, originally from Chicago, was arrested by the U.S. Marshal’s task force and Chicago Police Department. He was brought back to Bloomington.

Brown made his first court appearance Wednesday on eight counts of murder and attempted murder. He’s been appointed a public defender and is being held in the McLean County jail on $3 million bond.

He's due back in court for arraignment on July 6.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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