Police say they’ve arrested a 17-year-old male in connection with Wednesday night’s fatal shootings at a Normal apartment complex.
Killed in the gunfire were Joseph F. Gardner, 20, and Reginald Hart Jr., 19, both from Bloomington. They were found unresponsive around 10 p.m. Wednesday just inside a doorway at an apartment in the Lancaster Heights complex on College Avenue, west of Towanda Avenue.
It’s still unclear what led to the shootings. Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner said Thursday that drugs may have played a role in what happened. He called it an isolated incident.
“This was a very sad situation and what I’d say was a senseless act,” he said. “We’re all saddened by what occurred and for the families who have to go through this.”
Authorities did not identify the 17-year-old who was arrested “in the area of the apartment complex,” according to Bleichner. He has not been formally charged. McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers said that could come Friday. The 17-year-old lives in Normal, but authorities would not say if he lived in the apartment at 1444 E. College Ave., or why Gardner and Hart were there.
“I know that their families cared about them dearly,” said McLean County Coroner Kathy Davis, who joined Chambers and Bleichner at a press conference Thursday.
Bleichner stressed that police were still early in their investigation and that the public’s help was still welcome. He said no other suspects were being sought.
Those with information about the incident can call Normal Police at (309) 454-9535. Those looking to remain anonymous can call McLean County Crime Stoppers at (309) 828-1111.
People like you value experienced, knowledgeable and award-winning journalism that covers meaningful stories in Bloomington-Normal. To support more stories and interviews like this one, please consider making a contribution.