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Wanted vehicle after interrupted burglary leads to fatal shooting in St. Clair County

NEW ATHENS, Illinois — Investigators are asking people to keep an eye out for a vehicle of interest in connection with a deadly shooting Thursday afternoon in rural St. Clair County.

The vehicle of interest is a light blue Chevrolet Equinox with an amber light or small light bar on the roof. This vehicle is said to have left the area quickly after shots were fired.

The Greater St. Louis Major Case Squad continues to follow leads but has yet to identify or apprehend a suspect as part of the investigation. The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office sent two photos of the vehicle being sought in the investigation.

Investigators say three men interrupted an ongoing burglary at a home in rural St. Clair County when they arrived Thursday morning. One man died and two others were injured and hospitalized in the shooting. The victims are between 25 and 50 years old.

Police responded to the 9300 block of Golden Rule Mine Road around 11:30 a.m. Thursday to report a shooting. They found the victims with gunshot wounds outside a home. Austin M. Evans-Blakey, 25, of Lenzburg, Illinois, died in the shooting, authorities said. He worked as a handyman for the homeowner.

Capt. Bruce Fleshren of the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department said the motive for the burglary or shooting is currently unknown. During a Thursday news conference, he said confrontations between homeowners and burglars are not common in the county, especially during the day.

“That’s unusual. I’ve been at it for a long time. Usually, burglars run away,” Fleshren said. “This is a remote rural area so they felt safe during the day I think. A direct confrontation between homeowners and criminals is quite rare. Unfortunately, the subject was armed and for some reason opened fire. We hope to get to the bottom of this.”

Fleshren said law enforcement is still reviewing the crime scene for evidence. He said it appeared the victims were unarmed before they were shot. It’s unclear whether the shots were part of a random or targeted attack.

If you have information about the investigation, contact the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department at 618-825-2051.

https://fox2now.com/news/illinois/vehicle-wanted-after-interrupted-burglary-leads-to-deadly-shooting-in-st-clair-county/ Wanted vehicle after interrupted burglary leads to fatal shooting in St. Clair County

Nate Jones

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