Crime

Two men charged following weekend shooting in Belleville

Belleville Police Officer Dave Abernathy had been following this maroon Ford Focus on Saturday morning for several minutes in a neighborhood near the site of an overnight shooting in a parking lot behind the apartment complex on Freedom Drive, on Belleville's west end. As the car approached Frank Scott Parkway, while driving on Elizabeth Drive, Abernathy pulled the car over and called for backup. Several other police units joined him there. They briefly questioned the driver, who was the lone occupant of the vehicle, then handcuffed and placed him into Abernathy's police car. The remaining officers searched the vehicle and it was eventually towed from the scene. Here, Abernathy escorts the driver to his squad car.
Belleville Police Officer Dave Abernathy had been following this maroon Ford Focus on Saturday morning for several minutes in a neighborhood near the site of an overnight shooting in a parking lot behind the apartment complex on Freedom Drive, on Belleville's west end. As the car approached Frank Scott Parkway, while driving on Elizabeth Drive, Abernathy pulled the car over and called for backup. Several other police units joined him there. They briefly questioned the driver, who was the lone occupant of the vehicle, then handcuffed and placed him into Abernathy's police car. The remaining officers searched the vehicle and it was eventually towed from the scene. Here, Abernathy escorts the driver to his squad car. News-Democrat

Police said the two men in custody following a shooting in a Belleville neighborhood early Saturday have been charged.

According to an announcement on the Belleville Police Department’s Facebook page, Franklin C. Edwards, 29, of Belleville and Gregory L. Cook, 21, of East St. Louis faces charges that include aggravated battery, armed violence and criminal damage to property. In addition, Cook was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon.

Police were first notified of gunfire in the 200 block of Freedom Drive at 1:20 a.m. Saturday and arrived to find five damaged cars and several shell casings on the ground. On Monday, they announced that a 22-year-old woman who injured her foot while fleeing from the scene of the shooting was grazed by one of the shots fired. She was not an intended target of the gunfire, according to police.

Sgt. Mark Heffernan said Monday police believe both Edwards and Cook were armed and that authorities won’t know whether one or both men fired shots until a ballistic examination is completed.

“We believe there was an altercation that took place on the parking lot,” Heffernan said. “The amount of shots fired during this incident was alarming.”

Investigators haven’t announced a possible motive in the shooting and are still working to speak with additional witnesses.

Officers who were following Edwards later Saturday morning arrested him around 10 a.m. Heffernan said Cook was located and arrested during the afternoon hours Saturday.

Both Edwards and Cook are in St. Clair County Jail with bonds set at $500,000 each. Cook faces at least 15 years in prison if he’s convicted on all four charges. Edwards faces at least 13 years in prison.

Contact reporter Tobias Wall at twall@bnd.com or 618-239-2501. Follow him on Twitter: @Wall_BND.

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