Murdered man may have been wrong target

By Betty Simpson |, Drew Wilder |

Published 03/10 2014 06:28AM

Updated 03/13 2014 05:26PM

Latest: 10:28 am, 3/13/14, Thursday
HOOPESTON -- A murder investigation reveals the victim may not have been the intended target. 40-year old Bruce Eldridge was shot and killed Sunday, March 9, at The Downtown Motel, on East Main Street. The shooting happened in an apartment near the room Eldridge was staying in.

Witnesses say a man, dressed in black, entered the room, fired shots and fled on foot. A neighbor chased the suspect until he got into a dark-colored SUV fleeing the scene.

Authorities are looking for help from the public. Anyone with information should contact police.

Hoopeston Police
(217) 283 - 5196
Vermilion County Sheriff
(217) 442 - 4080
Update: 2:04 pm, 3/10/14, Monday
HOOPESTON -- An autopsy is set for a man who was shot and killed. It happened at the Downtown Motel on East Main Street, just after 9 pm, Sunday. When police arrived, 40-year old Bruce Eldridge was found dead. WCIA-3's Jillian Deam learns the shooting is being treated as a homicide.

Flashing lights and crime tape filled the area Monday morning.

"Lots of people everywhere, screaming, panicking, worried."

People say, it's not what they normally see in their small town.

"I was devastated."

"We all take care of each other. We're like a brotherhood and sisterhood."

But, downtown business owners, like Joyce Allen say, it's not the first time she's seen police at the Downtown Motel.

"I knew something was going to happen. The police have been called there several times."

Just across the street, City Chef Restaurant owner, Gary Wilson, says he noticed the same thing.

"It's been an ongoing problem. A lot of activity that doesn't need to be going on over there."

But Wilson says, he was shocked when he heard the sounds next door.

"We heard shots fired. A bunch of commotion. My phone's been ringing off the hook."

No one at the motel was able to talk on camera. The owner says he can't comment on the investigation, but says he's thinking of the victim's family at this time.

"It's awful because the individual had four children."

Now these business owners say something needs to be done.

"We have to do something with the drug problem in this town. I hope the owner will sell that building and get rid of it."

Police say witnesses reported suspects fleeing on foot before getting into a car. No arrests have been made. Anyone with information is asked to call police.

Hoopeston Police
(217) 283 - 5196
Original: 6:28 am, 3/10/14, Monday
HOOPESTON -- A man was shot and killed at an area motel.  Police are investigating Monday morning. Police say it happened at the Downtown Motel on East Main Street just after 9:00 pm Sunday night. No arrests have been made. At this time, police are not saying whether or not this is a murder investigation.

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