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Gunman gets 7 years for Bloomington shooting

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BLOOMINGTON – A 20-year-old Bloomington man was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in prison for firearm charges stemming from an August 2020 shooting in Bloomington.

Nathaniel A. Butler pleaded guilty in September to aggravated discharge of a firearm into an occupied building, a Class 1 felony, and unlawful possession of a firearm without a valid firearm owners identification card, a Class 3 felony.

Those charges derive from about a 1 a.m. shooting Aug. 20, 2020, in the 600 block of West Mulberry Street, Bloomington, when a house was struck by gunfire. Bloomington police Det. Curt Maas testified Tuesday that police located 11 shell casings at the scene of that shooting.

The detective said there were four shootings reported between Aug. 19 and Aug. 20, 2020, and that one of which struck a driver in the arm. He said Butler and others quickly became suspects of the shootings.

Butler was arrested Aug. 23, 2020, with co-defendant, Tony E. Powell, 21.

Powell was sentenced in December 2020 to seven years in the Illinois Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to one count each of attempted aggravated discharge of a firearm into an occupied vehicle and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

Butler was initially charged with one count of aggravated discharge of a firearm into an occupied building, aggravated discharge of a gun into an occupied vehicle, aggravated assault, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, mob action, and two counts of battery.

Also part of the seven-year prison sentence imposed Tuesday was one count of unlawful possession of a firearm without a valid FOID card, which was charged in March 2020.

McLean County Assistant State’s Attorney Emily Young asked the court to impose a total 10-year prison sentence, while defense attorney Michael Doubet asked the judge to impose a total of four years in prison and a term of probation.

Judge Casey Costigan said probation “would be inconsistent with the ends of justice.”

The judge agreed with the prosecutor, saying Butler’s conduct caused and threatened serious harm.

“This wasn’t about a group or rivalries that was taking place, but it was about the community as a whole, and when those shots were fired, the entire community was jeopardized and it created serious threat and harm to the entire community, as well as those individuals who were in the direct line of fire,” Costigan said.

Butler received credit for 475 days already served in jail for one of the FOID card violations and 502 days previously served in jail for the discharge of a firearm and other FOID card violation charges.


Contact Kade Heather at 309-820-3256. Follow him on Twitter: @kadeheather

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