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URBANA — State police are investigating the death of a 33-year-old man who was found by Urbana police after they arrived at his house to execute a search warrant for evidence related to an alleged sexual assault.

Shortly after police arrived to the 500 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and demanded entry, officers heard "a loud, undiscernible noise … from inside of the residence," Deputy Chief Richard Surles said.

When the house was searched, the man was found alone "with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," Surles said.

Police became aware of the alleged sexual assault Tuesday afternoon, Surles said, and they then sought and received a search warrant.

Later that night, Chief Bryant Seraphin requested the Illinios State Police investigate.

"This a death investigation," Surles said. "If there is going to be any claim of inappropriate behavior, we prefer to have an external investigation from the outset."

"Based on a preliminary review of information, no officer used force, fired their weapons, entered the residence, or even had contact with the sole occupant of the residence just prior to or at the time of his death," Surles said.

An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.


Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).