DECATUR — A man wanted for alleged crimes in both Coles and Sangamon counties was caught in Decatur armed with a handgun he said he won gambling, according to prosecutors.
Larry M. Holmes had been arrested on the night of Nov. 1 after a vehicle chase through the city that Decatur Police said topped speeds of 78 mph.
A sworn affidavit said the tires of Holmes’ car were punctured with devices deployed by pursuing patrol officers and had it ground to a stop in the 400 block of West Grand Avenue. The affidavit said Holmes took off running but was caught after being temporarily disabled by a shot from a stun gun.
Holmes, 32, appeared in Macon County Circuit Court on Nov. 16 for a preliminary hearing and pleaded not guilty to two charges of armed violence and one count of being a felon in possession of a weapon. Judge Rodney Forbes found probable cause to try him on all charges.
The affidavit, signed by Officer Clayton Zilz who also presented evidence in court, quotes Holmes as telling arresting officers he had fled because he knew he was a wanted man. His record shows he was being sought in Coles County on a charge of possessing a stolen vehicle and was also wanted in Sangamon County for criminal damage to government property.
Questioned by Macon County State’s Attorney Scott Rueter, Zilz said a .380 caliber “Bersa Thunder” semi-automatic handgun had been found on the floorboards of Holmes’s abandoned vehicle.
“During a Mirandized interview with Larry, he indicated that he had ‘won’ the handgun gambling a few days prior,” Zilz said in the affidavit. “Larry advised he was carrying the firearm for protection as he was having problems with someone on the street.”
Zilz said Holmes has four previous felony convictions and is not allowed to possess any kind of firearm.
Chief Public Defender Michelle Sanders asked Zilz why police had been pursuing the defendant to begin with and was told he had been seen running a red light. But Zilz, who was working as a member of the police department’s Community Action Team which targets gun violence, also said officers had been watching him before he committed the traffic offense.
Judge Forbes scheduled a pretrial hearing for Dec. 27 and a check of Macon County Jail records shows Holmes remained in custody Wednesday night. His bail is set at $750,000, meaning he must post a bond of $75,000 to be freed.
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Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid