Man accused of shooting Champaign officers faces new charges

By The Associated Press

URBANA, Ill. – A 46-year-old man accused of shooting two Champaign police officers in a city park faced new charges Wednesday, less than two hours after being released from a local hospital.

Donnell Clemons had been at Carle Foundation Hospital since the June 7 shootout, being treated for multiple gunshot wounds. Police moved him Wednesday to the Champaign County Jail.

Clemons already was charged with one count each of attempted murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm. On Wednesday prosecutors added an additional count of each of those charges, plus an aggravated battery charge and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

Clemons, handcuffed and wearing a hospital gown and white T-shirt, appeared from the jail by video link. He limped and braced himself against a wall to sit and stand up.

Judge Holly Clemons, who is not related to Donnell Clemons, appointed the county Public Defender’s Office to represent him.

Public defender Randy Rosenbaum said outside court that he had only spoken briefly to Donnell Clemons and declined further comment.

Clemons, who is homeless, is accused of shooting Champaign Officer Shannon Bridges and Deputy Chief John Murphy in West Side Park with a .380-caliber handgun when they responded to a report that someone there had a gun.

Bridges was hit in the chest and hospitalized for a week. She remains off duty, Champaign police spokeswoman Rene Dunn said. Murphy was treated for less serious injuries, and is back at work.

Police initially said a third officer wounded in the shootout, Jack Armstrong, was shot by Clemons.

But State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said Wednesday that Armstrong was struck in a calf by a bullet that ricocheted off something, meaning the shot could have been fired by police.

Dunn declined comment on the case, saying the investigation continues.

Armstrong was released from the hospital within hours of the shootout. He is back at work, Dunn said.

Police say Clemons lived in his car and often parked at the park.