UPDATED 5:10 p.m. | There have been dozens of incidents of gunfire in Bloomington-Normal in the past 18 months. But court records suggest it's a relatively small number of suspects in many of those incidents—including several involved in a hybrid gang dispute.
The overlap between incidents came into focus last week, when police arrested Jordyn Thornton, 19, of Bloomington, and Quentin L. Jackson, 21, of Peoria, in connection with Trevonte Kirkwood's Oct. 30 slaying in Bloomington. Authorities won’t say publicly what in their eight-month investigation led to Thornton and Jackson.
But court records show Thornton and Jackson—and many of their acquaintances—were on the police’s radar long before last week.
Thornton was a member of the BBE/MMG hybrid gang that was involved in an ongoing dispute with another hybrid gang, called FBMG 200, authorities said in court records.
That dispute led to at least five shootings and other incidents between both sides in early 2019, records show. That includes one on March 19, when Thornton was allegedly involved in a shootout near an apartment complex at Jersey Avenue and Kingswood Drive in Normal, records show. No one was injured.
Police soon tracked a Dodge Charger reportedly belonging to Thornton back to his apartment. It had several bullet holes, apparently from the March 19 shooting, authorities said. Thornton was arrested on drug charges after police used a search warrant and allegedly found ecstasy pills, cocaine, a scale, and counterfeit money in his apartment, records show.
Thornton was in jail on those pending charges when he was arrested in the Kirkwood case. He’s now represented by well-known Bloomington defense attorney Hal Jennings, who filed for a reduction in bond in the drug case June 7—the day after Thornton was arrested on the murder charge. Jennings said Thornton was about to begin barber school before his arrest.
Thornton is now being held on $1.5 million bond and is due back in court June 21.
This same gang dispute may have led to the Feb. 26 shooting—in broad daylight—on East Washington Street that put a nearby grade school on lockdown, records show.
Derrell Hibbler, Lardarius Carroll, and Tiquan Hamer—all Bloomington men in their 20s—were charged in that incident. They are identified in court records as members of the BBE/MMG gang, along with Thornton. Those court records say they were targeting a member of the rival FBMG 200 gang on Feb. 26.
Mob action and weapons charges are pending against Hibbler, Carroll, and Hamer.
There are connections to other recent shootings in Bloomington-Normal.
Scotty Allen, 18, is being sought by police as the third suspect in a fatal shooting on Orchard Road in April that killed Juan Nash. Allen, who was shot himself in the incident, was identified in court records as a member of the FBMG 200 gang. (Exodus Herbert, 18, and Amari McNabb, 22, are also charged with murder in the Orchard Road case.)
Quentin Jackson, a father of two, previously lived in Bloomington. He was charged with illegal possession of a handgun and ammunition in August 2018 after allegedly posting incriminating photos of himself with a gun and drugs on Snapchat, court records show. He also allegedly told police he was a gang member, records show. Several witnesses identified in court documents as possible witnesses in his pending criminal case were identified by police as members of the BBE/MMG gang.
Also spotted in Jackson’s Snapchat images was Anthony Grampsas, an 18-year-old from Decatur who months later was charged in another Bloomington homicide, records show. He’s charged with murder in the death of Egerton Dover on Dec. 5.
More recently, Jackson was charged with aggravated battery and mob action for allegedly attacking another man on West Market Street in Bloomington on April 25. He posted $1,000 bond and was released on those charges, which remain pending.
Jackson is now due back in court June 21 on the Kirkwood murder charge. He’s being held on $1 million bond.
McLean County State’s Attorney Don Knapp has declined to comment on what led authorities to charge Thornton and Jackson. The probable-cause statement used to obtain an arrest warrant for them was not made available to the media and is not part of the official court record in the case.
Sgt. Clayton Arnold with Bloomington Police’s Criminal Investigations Division said Friday they talked to an “incredible amount of people” to piece together what happened the night of Kirkwood’s death. He declined to comment on the relationship, if any, between Kirkwood, Thornton, and Jackson.
“There is other direct evidence that will significantly show we arrested the correct people,” he said.
Kirkwood’s mother, Dameca Kirkwood, said her family knew Thornton’s and Jackson’s families in various ways. They even spent holidays with the Jacksons years ago, she said. She said police told her Trevonte was killed because of “envy.”
Interactive Map: Known shooting incidents in Bloomington-Normal in 2019.
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