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UPDATE: WIU Shooting Suspect in Custody

Sep 16, 2020

Western Illinois University said a freshman who shot his roommate Tuesday night turned himself in to police in Chicago Wednesday afternoon.

Kavion Poplous

Kavion Poplous, 18, of Chicago, is charged with Attempted First-Degree Murder, Aggravated Battery, and Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm. 

Derek Watts, Interim Director of WIU’s Office of Public Safety, said the victim was initially taken to McDonough District Hospital in Macomb before he was transferred to another hospital.

“He’s out of surgery and we’re waiting on updates from the family of what his status is right now, so his condition is unknown,” Watts said.

Watts confirmed that the victim talked to medical workers before he was taken to the hospital but declined to divulge what the victim said. Watts called the shooting “a roommate dispute” and an isolated incident.

WIU Interim President Martin Abraham said the university continues to monitor the victim’s progress.

“Our thoughts, of course, go out to his family and his friends, and we pray for a full and speedy recovery,” Dr. Abraham said.

“We’re also thinking about all of our other students who are directly impacted by the tragedy.”

WIU Interim President Martin Abraham and Derek Watts, Interim Director of the WIU Office of Public Safety, responded to questions from reporters Wednesday morning.
Credit Rich Egger

Abraham said The University Counseling Center is providing services for any student, faculty, or staff member who needs assistance.

The shooting happened in Thompson Hall, which is a 19-story residence hall.  17 of the floors are being used this year as WIU holds a mix of in-person and online classes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Western called off all classes on both of its campuses Wednesday. Darcie Shinberger, Executive Director of University Communications, said “It is our plan to reopen and resume our normal operations Thursday, September 17.”

The Macomb School District also canceled classes Wednesday because the shooter remained at large. The district said classes will resume Thursday.

Spoon River College also canceled all in-person classes on its Macomb campus Wednesday.

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