Man shot twice by Peoria police officer

Frank Radosevich II and Leslie Fark

A 26-year-old man shot by a police officer early Tuesday may have been surrendering, the wounded man’s stepfather said.

Carl D. Gore of Peoria was shot twice after he ran from the officer and raised a rifle in the his direction, authorities said.

Gore’s stepfather, Otis Irby, learned of the shooting after speaking with a reporter. When asked about the incident, he replied, "Sounds to me he might have been raising his hands to surrender."

Police Chief Steven Settingsgaard said K-9 Officer Bradley A. Hutchinson was driving near the Harrison Homes about 1:20 a.m. when he spotted Gore. Police described Gore as "suspicious," though declined to comment further on that description.

"He looked underdressed for the weather. (Hutchinson) went to stop him in the area of Griswold and Krause and this suspect fled on foot," Settingsgaard said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. "The officer pursued in his vehicle, caught up to him in the area of Griswold and Seibold, ordered the individual to stop. The individual did not stop."

Gore eventually stopped and started raising the barrel of the gun while turning toward Hutchinson, Settingsgaard said. Hutchinson reportedly felt threatened and fired multiple rounds at Gore through the open window of his marked squad car.

Two bullets struck Gore — once in the left thigh and once in the left elbow. He was taken to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and is expected to recover. His condition was not available.

Facing south on Griswold, Hutchinson was no more than 20 feet from Gore when he shot, Lt. Vince Wieland said. Gore did not return fire.

Settingsgaard said the rifle was recovered but added the ongoing investigation prevented him to releasing any details about the weapon.

"Police officers are trained to shoot to stop the suspect’s actions, neither to kill nor wound, simply to stop the suspect’s action," the chief said. "Police officers are not trained to wound people or disarm people like you see on television. They shoot typically center of body mass."

As of Tuesday afternoon, police had yet to interview Gore and said he could face criminal charges.

No current address was available for Gore though police said he was not a resident of the Harrison Homes and was, in fact, on the trespass list for the housing complex. Family members said Gore was likely visiting a friend of his who lived in one of the apartments.

Just an hour before the shooting, police said Hutchinson, 38, tried to stop a man matching Gore’s description in the same area but lost sight of him after the man escaped.

Though stressing his department’s investigation was ongoing, Settingsgaard said, "based on what I know (Tuesday), what I know right now, it does appear to be a justifiable shooting."

Hutchinson, a seven-year veteran with the force, has been placed on paid leave, pending an internal police investigation. It’s the department’s policy after any stressful or deadly situation to put officers on leave for a period of time depending on the severity of the situation.

Gore’s family members said they spoke with police and were awaiting more information but were distressed about the news.

"Of course I’m upset," said Crystal Gore, Carl Gore’s mother. "What can I do? Nobody is telling me anything. All we can do is wait."

Arrested 14 times since 2000 on charges ranging from battery, drug and weapons possession, Carl Gore was also shot June 30, 2005, and two years later to the day at the Harrison Homes, according to police and court records.

The shooting comes less than four months after Peoria police wounded a mentally ill man who was wielding a knife and less than eight months after an officer fatally shot an armed man inside his home. In both cases, authorities cleared officers of any wrongdoing and determined the shootings to be justified.

In 1996, while working as a patrol officer for the village of Bartonville, Hutchinson and another Bartonville officer shot a 40-year-old man threatening them with a pitchfork.

John Schertz, who had a long history of mental illness and had threatened police in the past, died 16 days after the Aug. 3 shooting from complications related to the gunshot wound.

A subsequent investigation by Illinois State Police found the actions of both officers were justified.

Frank Radosevich II can be reached at (309) 686-3142 or fradosevich@pjstar.com. Leslie Fark can be reached at (309) 686-3188 or lfark@pjstar.com.