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Granite City man charged in ambush shooting death in East St. Louis

Deontra Harris
Deontra Harris Provided

A 22-year-old Granite City man has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the Feb. 20 shooting death of an East St. Louis man who was inside an apartment in the 400 block of Wimmer Place in East St. Louis.

Deontra M. Harris was charged by the St. Clair County States Attorney's office with one count of aggravated battery/discharge of a firearm, one count of aggravated battery/discharge of a firearm, and one count of possession or use of a firearm by a felon. Bail for Harris was set at $1 million.

Although a warrant was issued for Harris' arrest, police had not arrested him as of Tuesday afternoon. Anyone with information about his whereabouts was asked to call East St. Louis police at 618-482-6600, Illinois State Police at 618-346-3990 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-TIPS (8477).

On Feb. 20, East St. Louis Police were dispatched to 401 Wimmer Place, following a report of two males shot. At the scene, officers provided medical aid until an ambulance arrived and took the wounded men to a local hospital. Kierson Coleman died. The other victim survived despite being shot.

Coleman's cousin answered the apartment door a little before 1 a.m. , and as he opened the door, the individual on the other side fired a gunshot that hit the cousin and then struck Coleman in his chest. The cousin is the man who survived the shooting.

Coleman's mother, Kimberly Coleman, said she and her son had just returned to East St. Louis on Feb. 7 and she was staying with her niece at the apartment on Wimmer Place. She said the confrontation might have involved a baby.

Coleman said she had fallen asleep wearing a C-pap. After her son was shot, she said, he ran to her and pulled off her C-pap.

"He kissed me on my cheek and said, 'I might not make it,'" Coleman said. She said her son died in her arms.