Police who spent six days looking for their prime suspect in the New Year's Eve shooting in Normal found him hiding in a makeshift basement crawlspace, prosecutors said Friday.
Dewon I.C. Griffin, 19, of Bloomington, made his first court appearance Friday on murder charges. Griffin is accused of fatally shooting Tariq L. Houston, 17, of Springfield, at an apartment complex in northwest Normal on Dec. 31. Normal Police said it was an isolated incident apparently tied to a dispute at a party.
At least two witnesses told police Griffin was the shooter, prosecutors said. Someone was also heard calling for Griffin by name on surveillance video provided by the apartment complex. Authorities obtained an arrest warrant for Griffin on Jan. 2.
He wasn't arrested until Wednesday, when police learned he might be at a house in the 400 block of West Chestnut Street in Bloomington. Police searched the house and found him hiding in the crawlspace, covered in dirt and cobwebs, prosecutors said. He denied he was hiding and said he didn't hear police commands because he was sleeping, prosecutors said.
Police also found a 9mm handgun hidden in a furnace grate at the house. Houston was killed by a 9mm weapon.
Also facing charges related to the shooting is Garrett Riley Ahlfield, 18, of Bloomington. After Houston was shot, Ahlfield allegedly walked up to the crowd and fired five rounds from a handgun into the air and then fled the area on foot.
Ahlfield was charged with nine weapons-related offenses. But police said he was not believed to be Houston's killer.