Illinois shooting suspect taken in

Thursday, August 2, 2007

It turns out police were looking for more than just some guy with a dark complexion and a gray baseball cap.

They were looking for a man with a name. And they found him Tuesday night.

Michael Fencil, 25, of Mounds, Ill. -- the man police allege robbed Brown Bag Video II, shot and killed a customer while also wounding a clerk early Tuesday morning -- was arrested by Ottawa, Ill., police in north-central Illinois.

State police aren't saying much about the events that led to his arrest.

According to Diane Weber, the store owner, the business phone lines were cut during the robbery, which may have tipped police to look for someone familiar with the premises.

Ottawa police Capt. Mike Kessinger said Ottawa police had been on the lookout for Fencil because a warrant had been issued for his arrest. There is another Brown Bag Video store in Ottawa. Kessinger said a resident spotted Fencil and notified police. Fencil was apprehended during a traffic stop, he said.

In the hours following the crime, police announced they were looking for a suspect that fit the following description: a white male with a darker complexion, around 6 feet tall, thin, wearing a gray baseball cap and dark blue jeans.

They had secured a warrant for Fencil's arrest by Tuesday evening, but they did not release any information about the warrant to the public until the arrest was made.

Alexander County State's Attorney Jeffrey Ferris charged Fencil with aggravated assault with a firearm, armed robbery and first-degree murder for the shooting of Charles A. Caldwell, the Brown Bag Video Store customer who was killed in the robbery, according to Illinois State Police trooper Bridget Rice.

Police allege that Fencil shot Caldwell twice and a store clerk once in the arm, using a long-barreled handgun. By the time Illinois State Police responded to the 911 call around 1:30 a.m., the suspect had fled the scene.

Caldwell and the store clerk were both transported to Saint Francis Medical Center for treatment, where Caldwell was pronounced dead on arrival in the emergency room.

Weber said the employee wounded during the robbery was released from the hospital after being treated. The shot passed through his left arm cleanly.

The Cape Girardeau Police Department, Alexander County Sheriff's Department, Illinois State Police and Ottawa police continue to investigate the case.

The bond for Fencil is set at $1 million.

335-6611, extension 245

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