EAST ST. LOUIS — Three men have been charged with shooting seven people Thursday in East St. Louis, the Illinois State Police announced Friday night.
Lorenzo W. Bruce Jr., 32, of Madison; Cartez R. Beard, 30, of Cahokia Heights; and Deangelo M. Higgs, 35, of East St. Louis, were each charged with seven counts of aggravated battery/discharge of a firearm and one count of felon in possession of a weapon, state police said in a release. The charges were issued by the Office of the St. Clair County State's Attorney.
The shootings happened around 4 p.m. Thursday near Martin Luther King Drive and Sixth Street in East St. Louis. Seven people, including a 3-year-old boy, were struck by gunfire.
Their current conditions of the adults were not released, but the little boy is reportedly in critical condition.
The release states that following the report of a shooting, the 3-year-old boy's guardian took him to the East St. Louis Police Department. State police immediately took the boy to a local hospital while performing life-saving measures en route.
"Responding police officers were notified of additional shooting victims in the area of Martin Luther King Drive and Sixth Street, including someone whose car collided with a MetroLink train.
The 25-year-old East St. Louis man driving the car was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. No one was injured on the train.
The other shooting victims included a 49-year-old Belleville man, a 24-year-old East St. Louis man, a 53-year-old East St. Louis man, a 53-year-old Belleville man and a 38-year-old St. Louis woman. They were taken to hospitals, and their conditions are unknown, state police said.
After the shootings, people said they saw three men fleeing with weapons. "Within minutes, a perimeter was established in the area by the East St. Louis Police Department, ISP and multiple local police agencies," the release states. " The ISP Tactical Response Team (TRT) responded to the area and searched for the three suspected shooters. In less than an hour, ISP Air Operations, along with a helicopter from Metro Air Support, were in the air assisting the search. Drones from surrounding public safety agencies were also utilized in the search."
The three suspects were captured at 2:30 a.m. Friday in the basement of a partially demolished building along St. Louis Avenue in East St. Louis. The three were taken into custody without incident.
Bond for the three men was set at $950,000 each.
"The response to this shooting is an example of the Illinois State Police bringing to bear all resources at its disposal to bring justice to this community," said Illinois State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly. "PSEG, Patrol, SWAT, Air Ops and all ISP personnel again demonstrated our ongoing commitment to protecting the people of East St. Louis."
State police did not release any additional information, including a possible motive in the shootings.
Earlier, at a press conference, East. St. Louis Police Chief Kendall Perry said the shootings were "targeted."
"They were not shooting randomly, they had a target," he said. "I don't know what their motive was."
He noted that investigators found 9mm and assault rifle ammo shells at the scene of the shooting.
Mayor Robert Eastern III announced at the same press conference an overnight, daily curfew would go into effect, effective immediately. All businesses, parks, bars and other public places will close at midnight until further notice. In addition, parks in the city will be closed during weekends.
Reporter Kavahn Mansouri contributed to this story.