Bullets scream across border, ricochet off of cop’s trees

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Darryl Enriquez
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
— Police say a Linn Township man was drunk when he fired a rifle across the state line, ricocheting bullets through trees within 50 feet of an Illinois police officerís home.

Chad J. Connell, 38, W4720 State Line Road, is charged with felony reckless endangerment, possessing a firearm while intoxicated, resisting an officer and disorderly conduct. The felony charge carries a prison term of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $25,000. The other charges are misdemeanors.

He is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol while firing up to 11 rounds from an assault-style rifle across the Illinois/Wisconsin border.

Town of Linn police reported finding a Smith & Wesson M&P-15 with 31 rounds in its magazine and two additional magazines with live cartridges in Connellís home, according to the complaint.

The homes are less than a half mile apart, police said.

According to the criminal complaint:

At 10:25 p.m. May 20, a town of Linn police officer investigating a complaint of gunshots was flagged down by an Illinois police officer near State Line and Swamp Angel roads.

Terry Woods, who lives on State Line Road, first notified authorities of the shots, according to court records.

In a telephone interview, Woods told the Gazette he also had heard shooting a week before the May 20 incident.

The out-of-state officer, Christopher M. McCombs, reported he heard 10 or 11 rifle shots in rapid succession May 20. McCombs told the officer he believed the bullets traveled to his home from Connellís home. McCombs lives on the Illinois said of State Line Road.

Two town of Linn officers approached the suspectís home and spotted Connell in the front yard. He looked at the squad and fled to his deck, repeatedly tripping and falling as he ran.

Connell smelled strongly of alcohol, his speech was slurred, and his eyes were glassy. He needed to hold onto a rail to keep his balance.

When asked about the gunshots, Connell admitted firing a gun but said the shots were fired at about 7:30 p.m., three hours earlier than the gunshots investigated that evening by police.

Connell became confrontational and asked officers what they were going to do as he walked toward them, saying, ďOr what?Ē

While taking Connell into custody, the he struggled and twice tried to elbow one of the officers in the face. Connell lives alone in the rural home.

Connell gave an officer permission to enter his home, turn off the television and secure the building, according to court records. While in the home, the officer took a picture of the gun because it was in plain sight.

In the squad car, Connell banged his head against the rear window.

Town of Linn police Detective Will Borgen recovered nine empty .223 caliber shell casings on the deck of Connellís house and a 10th casing in his driveway. A live round was found in the grass next to the driveway.

Police returned with a search warrant and seized the rifle and ammunition from the house as evidence.

Connell is scheduled for hearing at 11 a.m. Aug. 12 before Walworth County Judge James Carlson. Connell is free on $1,000 bond.

Last updated: 5:39 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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