Man to prison in weapon case from traffic stop

URBANA — A Champaign man who shot himself in the head during a traffic stop in Champaign last summer was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison.

Russell Primmer, 20, who listed an address in the 2500 block of Clayton Boulevard, pleaded guilty before Judge Heidi Ladd to aggravated unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon.

Assistant State's Attorney Dan Clifton said the charge stemmed from an incident last Aug. 14 near Sixth Street and Bradley Avenue in Champaign with Champaign police Sgt. Geoff Coon.

About 1:20 a.m., Coon stopped Primmer near that intersection for an alleged traffic violation and could see an open container of alcohol inside the car. He asked Primmer to get out.

As he emerged, Primmer pulled a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol from his pants and put it to his own head.

Coon, in an attempt to keep Primmer from hurting himself, tried to take the gun from Primmer but Primmer resisted and got off a shot, which hit him near his right eye.

Coon was treated and released for an undisclosed injury he suffered in the scuffle with Primmer. The incident was recorded on squad car video.

Clifton said police later learned that the pistol Primmer shot himself with had been stolen from a home in Bloomington.

At the time of the incident, Primmer was on parole for an August 2011 robbery conviction for which he had been sentenced to five years in prison.

That was Primmer's only prior conviction, Clifton said.

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