Man arrested on weapons charges a suspect in Hoopeston shooting

Man arrested on weapons charges a suspect in Hoopeston shooting

HOOPESTON — A 44-year-old Lafayette, Ind., man who was arrested earlier this week on weapons charges is also a suspect in the March 9 fatal shooting at a Hoopeston motel, according to authorities.

Chief Mark Drollinger said police believe Carlos L. Suarez was involved in the death of 40-year-old Bruce L. Eldridge of Hoopeston at the Downtown Motel, though he declined to elaborate.

Drollinger also declined to say whether police are looking for other suspects because the investigation is still ongoing.

Police arrested Suarez at 8:05 p.m. Wednesday at a residence in the 500 block of South Fifth Street, Hoopeston, in connection with a separate incident. He was arrested on a warrant for aggravated discharge of a firearm, reckless discharge of a firearm and criminal damage to property over $500.

Suarez is currently in the Vermilion County Jail. His bond is set at $100,000, meaning he would have to pay $10,000 to be released.

He is scheduled to make his initial appearance in Vermilion County Circuit Court at 1 p.m. Friday.

Drollinger said the weapons charges stem from an incident that occurred early Feb. 16 on the city's north side.

According to a report, a person said that while he was sitting in a vehicle, a man approached him and broke out a window in the vehicle. Then another man produced a handgun and fired at the vehicle.

"He was identified as one of the persons," Drollinger said of Suarez.

Drollinger said that Suarez hasn't been charged in connection with the murder, which police continue to investigate.

"We're still reviewing documents and interviewing," he said

Mr. Eldridge was found in one of the rooms of the motel, 200 E. Main St., shortly after 9 p.m. The motel provides short- and long-term stays, and Mr. Eldridge had been staying in a nearby room.

Witnesses in the room reported seeing a man dressed in black enter and fire shots, striking Mr. Eldridge. An area resident chased the suspect to a dark-colored SUV, which drove off.

While police have released few other details, they have said they believe that Mr. Eldridge was not the intended target.

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