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Decatur police met with uncooperative witnesses after shots-fired calls


DECATUR — Police dealing with multiple shots fired in two Decatur incidents late Saturday and early Sunday found themselves confronted by the same response: uncooperative witnesses.

The first outburst of violence was reported around 11:55 p.m. Saturday when patrol officers called in hearing five or six gunshots in the area east of North Church Street.

“And then an anonymous caller called in saying they heard approximately five to six gunshots, and specially mentioned the area of the 200 block of East Stuart Avenue,” said Detective Sgt. Chris Copeland, speaking Sunday morning.

Copeland said police zeroed in on the East Stuart address and found 18 shell casings of two different calibers, .40 and 9mm, which are both handgun rounds. Copeland said the two different types of ammunition suggested a shootout had taken place in the area.

Copeland said one witness, a 20-year-old female, told police she had thought the gunfire was firecrackers going off and remained “uncooperative.” He said an older female witness was also unwilling to talk, saying she had not heard or seen anything because she had been asleep.

Police, limited by their ability to search in the dark, said they found no immediate signs of bullet damage to property and were not aware of anybody being wounded.

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The same patrol officers who had responded to that call were soon on their way to another shots-fired call barely half an hour later, this time outside the Flashback Lounge bar in the 2200 block of East Wood Street.

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Copeland said neighbors had initially called in complaining about loud music but, while on their way, the officers were told several more calls had come in reporting multiple shots fired.

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“One 61-year-old female said she heard four to five gunshots around 12:30 a.m.,” said Copeland. “And the officers did find what appeared to be a bullet defect located in the west side of her residence.”

But Copeland said any attempts at an investigation didn’t get very far once police were confronted by a large crowd of bar patrons.

“While on the lot, officers were met by patrons of the business who heaped verbal abuse upon them including profanity, name calling and so on,” the detective added.

“The officers spoke to several individuals who said they thought the loud noises heard were fireworks. They were uncooperative.”

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


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