Dec. 27 (UPI) — A 37-year-old male Army sergeant has been charged after three people were killed and three others wounded in a shooting Saturday night described as a random act at a bowling alley in northern Illinois, officials said Sunday.
Duke Webb has been charged with three counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder, Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley said during a news conference. Webb, a resident of Shalimar, Fla., is a special forces assistant operations and intelligence sergeant assigned to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida’s Panhandle, the Rockford Register Star reported. He joined the Army in 2008 and was on leave.
Webb had attempted to conceal his identity and hide his weapons from police, and two handguns were recovered from the scene, O’Shea said.
Around 6:55 p.m. CST, police received a call about a shooting at Don Carter Lanes, Rockford police Chief Daniel O’Shea said at a news briefing. Rockford is 80 miles northwest of Chicago.
“When officers arrived on scene, the shooter was still in the building,” O’Shea said. “No officers fired their weapons that we know of at this point, but the individual that we believe is responsible, and the only individual we believe at this point to be involved, we may have in custody.”
The fatalities, whose identities have not been released by Winnebago Sheriff’s Office, were three men 73, 65 and 69. A 62-year-old male who received multiple gunshot wounds underwent surgery overnight and is in critical condition.
Don Carter Lanes owner John Sommer described the four older victims as “regular wonderful costumers,” in an interview with the Rockford newspaper.
Two teenagers were picking up food when they were shot. A 14-year-old boy was shot in the face and is now in stable condition, a 16-year-old girl was shot in the shoulder, and has been treated and released from a local hospital.
The shooting happened inside and outside the bowling alley, he said.
Don Carter Lanes and the downstairs bar were closed at the time in compliance with COVID-19 mitigation orders but the upstairs bar, which included an outdoor balcony, was open and in compliance with current orders, officials said.
Late Saturday, Rockford police posted on Twitter the suspect is custody, and “this is an active and ongoing investigation.”
“I’m angered and saddened by the violence tonight at Don Carter Lanes,” Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said in a statement posted on Facebook. “My thoughts are with the families of those who lost loved ones. I’m also thinking of those who were injured and my hopes are with them for a quick and full recovery.”
Don Carter Lanes posted on its Facebook page: “A heinous act of violence by an evil coward took innocent life tonight. The entire bowling community mourns the senseless loss of life and prays for the families. God please be with their friends and families. Thank you to law enforcement for your heroic actions that prevented further loss of life.”
A candlelight vigil is scheduled for Tuesday night in its parking lot.