Initial report: Man in chase killed by shot within car, not police
DANVILLE — Initial autopsy results for a man involved in a car chase and shootout with Danville police indicate that the man was not shot by a police officer, authorities said Monday.
Public Safety Director Larry Thomason said the results point to "a high probability" that the gunfire that killed 33-year-old Scott C. Islam last Wednesday "came from within the vehicle and not from the outside."
"This is a very preliminary report," said Thomason, who added that he's going by verbal information he got from the Champaign County coroner's office and Illinois State Police.
State police officials confirmed the initial report findings, but declined further comment. They're still investigating, Thomason said.
An autopsy conducted last Thursday showed that Mr. Islam, of Danville, died from a gunshot wound to the head, according to Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrop. Thomason would not release specific details of the report.
Mr. Islam was shot during an incident that began around 2:40 a.m., when police got a call for shots fired in the area of Harmon and Woodbury streets. A short time later, they spotted a brown vehicle, matching a description of one that was given, near Fairchild and Kingdom streets.
When police tried to stop the car, the driver took off, and police chased it. After the car crashed into an apartment building at the intersection of Logan Avenue and Kimber Street, the occupants exchanged gunfire with three police officers who initially were on the scene.
Mr. Islam was struck by gunfire and pronounced dead at Carle Hospital in Urbana later that afternoon. No one else was injured.
"It was unknown at that time where the fatal shots came from," Thomason said. "There was a natural tendency on the part of a lot of people to believe that it came from police."
Two Danville men who were in the vehicle with Mr. Islam face criminal weapons charges stemming from the incident.
Charles R. Twigg, 29, and Gaylen L. Thomas, 27, were charged in Vermilion County Circuit Court on Friday with four counts each of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, one count of aggravated discharge of a weapon and one count of aggravated possession of two to five firearms.
They each pleaded not guilty to the charges at their initial hearing. Their preliminary hearings are set for 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Twigg and Thomas are each being held at the Vermilion County Jail in lieu of a $500,000 bond, meaning they would have to post $50,000 in order to be released.