Manhunt Update: 'They Did Get Him'

UPDATE 4:15 P.M.

Illinois State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigations confirmed minutes ago that Dracy “Clint” Pendleton was killed in an exchange of gunfire in southern Illinois about 5 a.m. Sunday.

“Dracy Pendleton is no longer a threat to the communities of southern Illinois,” Illinois State Police Colonel Tad Williams said at a brief news conference near the Shawnee National Forest.

Williams said at 12:09 a.m., Mr. Pendleton, 34, was seen running south from the Sulphur Springs Cemetery (in northern Pope County) carrying a rifle and a bandolier. Police lost sight of him but set up a perimeter around the area where he was and tracked him about a half-mile to an abandoned house.

FBI and state troopers cleared the area around the house and approached it about 5 a.m.

“On approach, he opened fire. One FBI agent was shot and injured,” Williams said.

FBI and state police SWAT members surrounded the house and returned fire. They sent a robot in and found Mr. Pendleton’s body on the second floor. He had an assault rifle.

Sean Cox, FBI special agent in charge from Springfield, said the agent who was wounded “has received treatment.”

“He will have a recovery but he is going to be okay,” said Cox, who declined to identify the agent.

Cox thanked the many state and local authorities who teamed up with federal law enforcement agents to bring the search for Mr. Pendleton to an end.

He said the FBI will now begin its investigation into the shooting.

Williams said there will continue to be restricted access to many of the areas around the shooting through Monday evening.

TIMELINE: Manhunt that ended with death of Dracy 'Clint' Pendleton. https://t.co/wt8TOwuslI pic.twitter.com/qP8pwZgm5F

— news_gazette (@news_gazette) May 15, 2016

“Several crime scenes are being processed,” Williams said.

 

Original 2:50 p.m. story 

EDDYVILLE — A deacon of a church in the area where state and federal authorities have been searching for accused police shooter Dracy “Clint” Pendleton said a state trooper told him that Mr. Pendleton was shot and killed this morning.

“They did get him. I just talked to state police a few minutes ago,” John Kunath told The News-Gazette on Sunday afternoon.

Kunath said he was also told that two federal agents had also been shot in an exchange with Mr. Pendleton some time Sunday morning. Their condition is unknown.

Illinois State Police and the FBI have so far declined to release information about the exchange in the remote section of the Shawnee National Forest in Pope County where the action is centered. A news conference has been scheduled for 3 p.m.

However, another resident who lives nearby told The News-Gazette that there has been a great deal of activity today.

“This morning there are helicopters going over, some going south, some northeast, and a lot of traffic going back and forth,” said Peggy Barger, owner of the Little Lusk Trail Lodge.

Her campground and lodge, which has been closed since Monday due to the manhunt, is northwest of the area where authorities have been looking for Mr. Pendleton, who was criminally charged with shooting Mahomet Police Officer Jeremy Scharlow on Saturday, May 7.

Mr. Pendleton had eluded authorities since the shooting, which took place about 11 p.m. on May 7 in the 500 block of South Vine Street in the heart of Mahomet.

But on Sunday morning, said Kunath, authorities closed in on Mr. Pendleton in an abandoned house near where Kunath lives in rural Golconda.

“They had a helicopter going over dropping flash bombs. He was in an abandoned house about a mile south of me. I could hear the shooting and the flash bombs they was dropping. They was going around in circles dropping it all around us,” Kunath said.

Kunath had been intimately involved in the search for Mr. Pendleton since Friday night when he went to the small country church where he serves as a deacon to get the trash out and to turn on the air conditioning.

The Sulphur Springs Missionary Baptist Church is about 1 1/2 miles from Kunath’s home and is surrounded by the national forest.

“I discovered the church broken in about 6 p.m.,” he said.

Kunath said he found evidence that frozen turkey patties were missing from the refrigerator and on a table was a melted flavored ice that was out of place.

In the trash can, Kunath spotted a blood-soaked bandage and found that the contents of the church’s first aid kit were missing.

“He was pretty good about cleaning his mess up. He put everything in the garbage can,” Kunath said.

He said the intruder also took about $80 cash from a donation box intended for the church’s support of an Ethiopian child.

Kunath said Pope County sheriff’s deputies responded to the break-in and that prompted a larger response of SWAT team and FBI agents later.

Kunath said he was about to unlock the church door for police around 10 p.m. Friday but they took a more cautious approach with the SWAT team. And after processing the church for several hours for evidence, the authorities left.

But Kunath said he believed that Mr. Pendleton returned.

“He come back and kicked the back door in,” said Kunath, who had returned to the church about 10 a.m. Saturday for a business meeting and found the damage.

“He had to be watching. He came back right after they (police) left,” Kunath said.

A lifelong resident of the area, Kunath, 72, said he hasn’t been afraid.

“If you’re a Christian, why be afraid?” he said.

 

 

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