Man faces gun, drug charges

CHAMPAIGN— A Champaign man is being held at the Champaign County jail on $100,000 bond following his arrest over the weekend in connection with an incident in which shots were fired.

Charles J. Thomas, 47, who listed an address in the 400 block of East Church Street, Champaign, pleaded innocent on Monday to aggravated unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

Thomas' next court appearance was set for Dec. 11.

According to a police report, officers were called to the area of Fourth and Hill streets at 12:18 p.m. Sunday to respond to a report of shots fired.

Witnesses told police that at least two groups of men had been firing their guns at each other and then ran away from the area.

Some of them allegedly entered a home in the 400 block of East Church Street, according to the witnesses.

Police found several shell casings in the area, according to the report, and found a heavily damaged pickup truck that hit a home at the corner of Fourth and Hill streets.

Witnesses told police that, after the shots were fired, the driver of the pickup truck crashed the truck into the home, with the occupants of the truck running away from the area.

The Champaign Police Department's Special Weapons and Tactics team was sent to the area at 1:10 p.m.

Police evacuated some adjacent homes, and closed some streets as a precaution. They got a search warrant for the home on Church Street, where they found four handguns, drugs and drug equipment, and arrested Thomas outside the home in the area.

Champaign police said they suspect the shooting is due to an ongoing dispute between two groups.

Persons with information about the incident are asked to call Champaign police at 351-4545 or remain anonymous by calling Champaign County Crimestoppers at 373-8477 (TIPS). Tips may also be submitted through http://www.373tips.com or by text by sending CCTIP plus the information to 274637 (CRIMES).

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