State's attorney targets gun crimes; 15 firearms taken off the streets

News-DemocratJanuary 31, 2014 

St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly, in a 2012 file photo.

TIM VIZER/BND

— Felony weapons and other charges were filed against 14 men and one woman during the month of January, an amount that St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly described as "a large number for a population this size."

However, Kelly said taking 15 guns off the street primarily among several communities where the crime rate is high, "is not a larger number than we usually have month to month."

Kelly said his office is targeting gun crimes, adding that fewer guns on the streets can hopefully lead to fewer murders.

"Because homicide rates have a terrible impact on investors' perceptions and job growth, and because 85 percent of our homicides are caused by guns, (local) law enforcement is hitting illegal gun activity harder and harder."

Beginning this month, Illinois residents were able to apply for concealed carry permits that would allow them to legally carry handguns in public.

"Now, because there is a legal way for citizens to carry a gun, there is no excuse and little sympathy for those who do so illegally," he said.

A total of 11 handguns ranging from a .22-caliber pistol to several .45-caliber semiautomatics were seized as evidence. Also seized were two rifles and another firearm that was not described in a criminal complaint.

Police officers from East St. Louis recorded the most gun arrests with five, followed by Washington Park, 3; St. Clair County Sheriff, 2; and one each for Centreville, Cahokia, Swansea, Alorton and the Illinois State Police.

Charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm were Tiffany A. Wann, St. Libory; Joshua C. Bean, Pontoon Beach; Christopher A. Hodges, Marcus C. Seawood, Joey V. Thomas and Willie E. Wofford, all of East St. Louis, and Calvin Rosebud of Belleville.

Lemar D. Gully of Belleville was charged with armed robbery. George D. Madgett of Cahokia was charged with shooting Darius Edwards in the arm. And Orlando M. Harris was charged with possession of a .45-caliber handgun and misdemeanor marijuana possession.

The following five people were charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon for allegedly possessing a firearm while not on their own land or in their home while not having a required state Firearms Owner Identification Card: Timothy J. Fowler and Eric A. Dixon, both of East St. Louis; Darrius L. Lawson, Jefferson City, Mo.; Jereme'e Holmes, St. Louis, and Clinton Walker, Memphis, Tenn.

Contact reporter George Pawlaczyk at gpawlaczyk@bnd.com or 618-239-2625.

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