Teen killed in home invasion

Sadie Gurman

A teenager was shot and killed late Sunday in a home invasion near Stillman Valley.

Travis Castle, 14, of Durand, has been identified by his parents as the young man who was killed. Authorities think two other young men, who they say had a hand in the crime and fled the house, also are from Winnebago County. They remain at large, but Ogle County Sheriff Greg Beitel wrote in a statement that “the crime appears to be an isolated incident and investigators believe the other suspects left the area immediately after the shooting.”

Authorities say they don't think that Castle knew the homeowner.

The Sunday night shooting was the climax in a string of events that started about 11 p.m. when at least three young men in white, hooded sweat shirts broke a window and entered a home on Meridian Road, Beitel said, possibly to steal firearms from the home’s owner, an “avid sportsman.” The homeowner was away, hospitalized after a traffic accident.

The houseguest hid in a bedroom and grabbed a loaded handgun he knew was stored there, he said. The man was discovered when one of the youths entered the bedroom and fled when he realized someone was inside, Beitel said.

The houseguest also left the bedroom and came face to face with one of the youths in a tight, narrow hallway.

After firing, the houseguest called 911, and deputies found a rifle or shotgun next to the deceased and a pistol on the floor several feet away.

Investigators were unsure whether the youth brought the weapons with him. They recovered at least a dozen other firearms that Beitel said possibly belong to the homeowner. Some of the firearms, mostly rifles and shotguns, were scattered in the grass outside the house, and others were wrapped in a quilt near the perimeter, suggesting, he said, they had been taken from the house.

Investigators also discovered a “sizable amount” of cash in the youth’s pocket.

The houseguest told police he saw at least three people inside the house. Officials think that two men who fled the residence in a vehicle are no longer in the rural area.

The houseguest, whose name police would not release, and relatives of the homeowner declined to comment Monday.

Sadie Gurman can be reached at (815) 987-1389 or at