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Police: Man arrested after fight — and gunfire — erupts in Masonic Temple parking lot

Police: Man arrested after fight — and gunfire — erupts in Masonic Temple parking lot

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DECATUR — Police said they were ready to move in swiftly when a fight, and gunfire, broke out in the parking lot of the downtown Decatur Masonic Temple early Saturday.

A sworn affidavit from Decatur Police said officers already had the temple lot, 224 W. William Street, under observation for unspecified reasons when they saw the fight start and then witnessed the gunfire as people left an event hosted at the temple.

The affidavit said a gunman trying to flee the lot in a car was intercepted and boxed in by squad cars. The affidavit said the 24-year-old man refused to get out of his car after being cornered and had to be wrestled from the vehicle before being placed under arrest at 1:47 a.m. Police seized a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun that had been reported stolen.

Two other men had jumped out and fled the car on foot before it was stopped and the affidavit said they were also caught and arrested, one after being shot with a stun gun. Both were later booked on preliminary charges of resisting and obstructing police.

The car driver, accused of endangering the public while firing multiple shots as crowds milled about nearby, was booked on preliminary charges of reckless discharge of a firearm and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. He was also charged with resisting and obstructing a peace officer and possession of a stolen firearm. All preliminary charges are subject to review by the state attorney’s office.

Writing in the affidavit, Officer Brent Morey said Sgt. Scott Rosenbery previously had the temple lot under observation and called for backup after he saw several people begin fighting.

“Approximately 30 seconds later Sgt. Rosenbery observed multiple gunshots being fired in the parking lot along the driver’s side of a red Ford (vehicle),” he added.

Rosenberry saw the gunman get into the driver’s seat and the other two male passengers climb inside. The sergeant was then able to direct arriving officers to intercept the vehicle, leading to the confrontation with police.

“(The gunman’s) actions jeopardized the safety of all the people on the parking lot,” said Morey.

Morey said a search of the lot turned up five shell casings that matched the brand of a live round in the gunman’s .45 caliber handgun. Officers also found five additional .45 caliber shell casings from two different brands.

A check of Macon County Jail records showed the arrested gunman remained in custody Monday night in lieu of posting bail set at $150,000.

A spokesman from the Masonic Temple did not immediately return a call Monday seeking comment.

2019 mug shots from the Herald & Review


Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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