The family of a 54-year-old Army veteran who was shot to death in Granite City is relieved the four teenagers allegedly responsible for his death are behind bars and possibly facing life in prison.
"I figured he died in vain," said Charles A. Weiss' sister Kim Woolard, 52, of Granite City, and the police wouldn't be able to find those responsible.
Woolard said she's glad that wasn't the case and thanked the investigators with the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis.
Three Madison teenagers were charged Tuesday in connection with first-degree murder, according to Granite City Police.
The following teens each were charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the homicide of Weiss: Markeith Reynolds Jr., 15, of the 900 block of Iowa Street; Shawn L. Russel, 15, of the 1700 block of Second Street; and Brian L. Taylor, 16, of the 1100 block of McCambridge.
All three teenagers, who are friends, were charged as adults and remain in the custody of the Madison County Juvenile Detention Home, said Maj. Jeff Connor with the Granite City Police Department.
A fourth suspect remains in custody in the Madison County Juvenile Detention Home, but his case remains in juvenile court since he is younger than 15. Connor said there will be a certification hearing to determine if the fourth suspect's case will be moved to adult court.
Weiss was found shot at 9:25 p.m. Thursday in an alley near the 1200 block of Meridian Avenue in Granite City. Before he succumbed to his injuries, Weiss told police that "they tried to rob me." Police wouldn't disclose what if anything was taken from Weiss.
"This case stemmed from an attempted armed robbery that led to the shooting death of Mr. Charles Weiss," Connor said. "This was a random crime, which actually made this a difficult crime to solve. It was a crime of opportunity for these thugs. They saw this man; they waited in the alley for him, ambushed him and shot him."
Granite City Police Chief Rich Miller said Weiss was "gunned down in cold blood. (He) was doing nothing wrong other than walking to a local business."
Weiss died from a single 9mm gunshot wound to the chest.
The Major Case Squad was activated and worked through the weekend to solve this crime, according to Connor. He said 20-plus investigators worked more than 45 hours on this case.
Connor said the cooperation of the public and the hard work of the investigators lead to the charges against the suspects allegedly responsible for Weiss' death.
Woolard described her older brother as "a really easygoing guy. He didn't bother anybody," she said.
Weiss, who grew up in Hanna, joined the U.S. Army following high school and served four years including a stint in Germany, according to Woolard.
Most recently, Woolard said Weiss worked as a heavy equipment operator.
In addition to Woolard, Weiss is survived by his mother Marion Reese of Morton, his older brother Craig Weiss, 55, of Florida and two daughters Rachel, 25, of Chicago and Paige, 22, Wisconsin.
Funeral arrangements for Weiss are pending, according to Woolard.
Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or email@example.com.