Crime

Shiloh man gunned down; family, friends mourn loss

Shiloh fatal shooting

The major case squad is investigating the shooting death of Kenneth J. Easley of Shiloh.
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The major case squad is investigating the shooting death of Kenneth J. Easley of Shiloh.

Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis has been activated in an investigation into a fatal shooting that occurred Saturday night in Shiloh.

Shiloh Police were dispatched at approximately 11:30 p.m. to the apartment building at 22 Yorkshire Lane, where officers found Kenneth J. Easley, 26, of Shiloh, lying outside.

GUEST BOOK: Kenneth J. Easley

Easley’s childhood friend, Gary Rainey, 33, of Belleville, describes Easley as a “hard-working American.” They had been friends for more than 20 years.

“He went to work, he came home, he took care of his child, he hung out with us,” Rainey said. Easley had a girlfriend and son.

Another friend, Grover Gillespie III, 32, of Shiloh, who had known Easley for about six years, said Easley worked at Fazoli’s in Fairview Heights, 5811 N. Illinois Street.

Gillespie said Easley was a “humble man.”

“I really appreciate his loyalty and respect that he gave for the community out here. Everybody loved Kenny out here,” Gillespie said. “He just had a couple of haters, which was my haters, and I understand.”

Rainey said Easley was known for being someone to count on.

“Kenny always helped people out in this neighborhood,” Rainey said.

Easley was “nice to everybody that he met,” Gillespie said.

“He was a good man,” Gillespie said. “He didn’t start no trouble with nobody.”

Lt. James Cavins, deputy commander of the Major Case Squad, said investigators believe Easley knew his attacker or attackers.

“We believe that this was not a random act of violence,” Cavins said.

The Major Case Squad was seeking information from the public to assist in the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call 618-624-4545, ext. 9819.

Rainey said he thinks Easley was shot because of “jealousy.”

“Kenny, he always fought for what he believed in, and he fought to keep what he had. And the thing about it is, is that somebody thought they were gonna get a quick fix, a quick come-up. And a come-up is to get rich in an instant. ... But once Kenny got in the struggle with them, boom, that killed him.”

Rainey said he did not believe it was a robbery.

Richard Baker, who lives next-door to Easley in the apartment building, found Easley on the ground outside the apartment before he died.

“I immediately dialed 911,” Baker said.

Baker said he saw at least one gunshot wound in Easley’s head, and he thought he saw one in his arm as well.

He said Easley had a gun in his waistband when he found him.

It took police less than 5 minutes to get to the apartment building, Baker said.

Rainey, having lived in the neighborhood for most of his life, said a shooting is unusual for the area.

“I grew up in this neighborhood, and this is a peaceful, quiet neighborhood,” Rainey said. “And nobody bothered nobody. Nobody did anything.

“I had a childhood friend die over something stupid because you want to be ignorant.”

Rainey said he went to Shiloh on Sunday to discourage any actions that might interfere with the investigation.

“Retaliation to one crime and retaliation to another crime is only gonning to escalate the problem; it’s only going to keep things burning,” he said. “Right now, things need to be put out.

“What happened yesterday was a tragedy.”

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