Early-morning arrest brings drug, weapons charges

Early-morning arrest brings drug, weapons charges

URBANA — The apparent victim of a February home invasion is in police custody following his arrest early Thursday for allegedly having a gun.

Urbana police Sgt. Dan Morgan said Officer Matt Quinley was patrolling around Urbana High School about 2 a.m. when he spotted a car in the parking lot that appeared to have been burgled. Driving around the area to see if he could find someone related to that, Quinley spotted a man on a bicycle whom he identified as Rommell Smith.

Smith, 23, now homeless, had been wanted by police in connection with cannabis and a gun that police found in the Vawter Street apartment where Smith was living in February.

Morgan said about 12:30 a.m. on Feb. 2, police were sent to an apartment complex in the 2000 block of Vawter Street where several shots had been fired. No one was present but within minutes, police located Smith at a nearby convenience store with cuts and abrasions, some of which happened when he fell running away.

Smith reported he was in the Vawter apartment when several men forced their way in. Morgan said Smith fought, pulling a gun to defend himself. In the struggle over the gun with one of the intruders, several shots were fired.

The intruders fled, as did Smith, Morgan said.

About 15 minutes after the shots-fired call, a man with multiple gunshot wounds was dropped off at the emergency room entrance at Carle Foundation Hospital, Morgan said.

"In spite of being shot five times, he got up and walked in," said Morgan, declining to identify that man, who survived the shots.

Morgan said Smith was being treated there at the same time for cuts to his hands.

Meantime, back at the Vawter apartment, police searched and found more than 500 grams of cannabis, packaging materials and .380-caliber ammunition. Smith was not arrested that day.

Morgan said about two weeks later, on Feb. 14, police were sent to another shots-fired call at an apartment in the 1700 block of East Florida Avenue. Morgan said police learned that Smith had been staying at the apartment where a shot went through the floor into the apartment below. The caliber of the gun fired that afternoon matched the caliber of one of the two weapons that had been fired in the Vawter home invasion earlier that month. Smith was not located that day.

When Quinley stopped Smith early Thursday, he had a .32-caliber handgun in his pocket, for which he had no concealed carry license or firearm owner's identification card, Morgan said.

On Thursday, the state's attorney office charged Smith with unlawful possession with intent to deliver cannabis stemming from the cannabis found in his apartment Feb. 2. He was also charged with two counts of aggravated unlawful use of weapons for allegedly possessing a gun on Feb. 14 and again Thursday.

Judge John Kennedy set his bond on both cases at a total of $40,000 and told him to be back in court Oct. 7.

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