Police cleared in shooting; wounded man facing charges

URBANA — A man who was shot by Champaign police after allegedly threatening two officers and his girlfriend's adult daughter with a gun has been criminally charged.

A warrant for the arrest of Anthony Shawn Brown, 25, of Champaign, was issued early Thursday by Champaign County Judge Richard Klaus. The sheriff does not intend to serve it until after Brown has been released from Carle Foundation Hospital, where he has been since early Sunday morning, having been hit by multiple shots.

He is listed in critical condition.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz said she charged Brown with being an armed habitual criminal and home invasion in connection with his alleged forced entry to the home of his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Victoria Rodgers, 47, at 1207 Crispus Drive, C.

Both charges are Class X felonies carrying potential prison terms of between six and 30 years upon conviction.

According to Rietz, about 4 a.m. Sunday, Shauntrayah Foster, 18, the daughter of Rodgers, heard a knock at the door.

Foster was spending the night at the home. Also present were her sister, Taylor Rodgers, 19, who lives in the home; their 13-year-old brother; and Taylor Rodgers' 3-year-old son. Victoria Rodgers was not there, Rietz said.

Rietz said Foster opened the door and Brown came in.

"He was intoxicated and armed with a revolver and said, 'Tell your mama I'm going to shoot her in the head,' and he pointed it at Foster and pulled the trigger repeatedly but no shots were actually fired," Rietz said.

Shortly after, he left the home and the women locked the doors and windows and gathered the children into a locked bedroom and called 911.

While Taylor Rodgers was on the phone with a police dispatcher, Brown came back in the home, probably through a back door that they may have neglected to lock, Rietz said.

"He opened the locked bedroom door with a butter knife. He came in the bedroom and still had the revolver in the pocket of his jeans," she said.

Champaign officers arrived and one could see into the bedroom window where Brown and the victims were all present.

"He (the officer) couldn't see the gun but he could see that Brown had his hands by his waistband. Officers then forced entry to the front door and announced their presence. Brown left the bedroom and went into the hallway. Officers saw Brown come into the hallway holding the revolver at his waist.

"They ordered him to get on the ground. He did not. He raised the weapon and pointed it in their direction at which time they fired. Brown did not," Rietz said.

The officers who fired were identified as Jon Lieb and Christopher Oberheim.

Police said eight shots were fired; four hit Brown.

The seven-shot .22-caliber revolver that he had been holding contained seven spent casings.

"The weapon has been sent to the Illinois State Police crime lab for analysis so we don't have the answer to how recently it had been fired," she said.

Rietz said based on the interviews that a multi-jurisdictional team of area investigators have conducted of the witnesses in the house and the officers, she believes the officers' use of force was justified.

"My office and I personally have been involved in this investigation from early Sunday morning. I have reviewed all of the statements of the witnesses in the home and the officers involved and it's my opinion this was an appropriate use of force based on the information I have at this time.

"We are focusing our attention on the criminal cases against Mr. Brown," she said.

Rietz said besides the statements from the witnesses, police have the gun Brown was allegedly holding, a bottle of vodka he had brought to the home with him, the butter knife he reportedly used to force entry to the bedroom, and the recording of the 911 call.

Brown, whose last known address was in the 1400 block of Summit Ridge Road, has a history of police contacts in Champaign County stemming from violence against women and drugs.

Court records show he has had 13 criminal cases filed against him since 2004 as well as other city ordinance violations and traffic tickets. He has been convicted in six of the criminal cases. Several others were dismissed because victims refused to cooperate, Rietz said.

The armed habitual criminal charge against Brown alleges that he possessed the .22-caliber revolver after having been convicted in 2008 of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon and in 2010 of possession with intent to deliver cannabis.

Brown's other convictions include one in 2004 for misdemeanor possession of cannabis for which he received a year in the county jail; two separate convictions in 2006 for domestic battery with a prior domestic battery conviction and criminal trespass to residence for which he received a sentence to boot camp; and another 2006 misdemeanor domestic battery conviction for which he was sentenced to three months in jail.

The 2008 weapons conviction was the result of a jury trial and netted Brown 3 1/2 years in prison. The 2010 cannabis conviction was the result of a guilty plea and earned Brown three years in prison.

In May of this year, he was charged with domestic battery for allegedly hitting a Champaign woman but Rietz said the case was dismissed in August because the victim did not want to cooperate with his prosecution.

A multijurisdictional group headed by state police investigated the incident, which is standard when an officer is involved in a shooting.

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areader wrote on September 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Good!!!!!  This is great news--good action taken by law enforcement!

ThinkWithYourBrain wrote on September 14, 2012 at 9:09 am

I'm glad there are no charges or backlash against the officers, but why is the hit ratio at 50%.  I know it's a stressfull situation and I have never been in a gun fight myself, but within a hallway with guns drawn how do you miss half the time?  I know I wasn't there but if the scenario is like I am imagining it I would think two quick shots of from each officer would have done it, and should have been lethal.  Maybe if they were trying to shoot out his knees?

rsp wrote on September 14, 2012 at 2:09 pm

From listening to this happen live I don't think their intent was to kill him or he would be dead. They were in a small space as was he, and there were other people in the house. Plus you don't know the layout of the house or the position of the officers involved. The decision to open fire was a split second one. And to suggest that they should have killed a man unnecessarily is incredibly reckless. Aside from this man's life the officers would forever have to carry the burden of that. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. As it was they provided an unbelievable amount of manpower to come to the aid of this family in distress and for that they should be commended. 

ThinkWithYourBrain wrote on September 14, 2012 at 9:09 am

I'm glad there are no charges or backlash against the officers, but why is the hit ratio at 50%.  I know it's a stressfull situation and I have never been in a gun fight myself, but within a hallway with guns drawn how do you miss half the time?  I know I wasn't there but if the scenario is like I am imagining it I would think two quick shots of from each officer would have done it, and should have been lethal.  Maybe if they were trying to shoot out his knees?

ThinkWithYourBrain wrote on September 14, 2012 at 9:09 am

I'm glad there are no charges or backlash against the officers, but why is the hit ratio at 50%.  I know it's a stressfull situation and I have never been in a gun fight myself, but within a hallway with guns drawn how do you miss half the time?  I know I wasn't there but if the scenario is like I am imagining it I would think two quick shots of from each officer would have done it, and should have been lethal.  Maybe if they were trying to shoot out his knees?