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Normal police: Fatal gunshot wound was self-inflicted

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NORMAL — Authorities say the fatal gunshot wound that left a man dead in Normal early Sunday was believed to be self-inflicted.

McLean County Coroner Kathy Yoder identified the victim as a 29-year-old Rantoul man. He was pronounced dead at 4:43 a.m. Sunday at OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington.

Autopsy results indicate he died of a gunshot wound to the head. Toxicology testing is pending.

The Pantagraph is not identifying the victim because of the nature of the incident. 

Normal police previously said officers were called about 3:40 a.m. to Candlewood Suites, 203 Susan Drive, for a report of a man shot. They found the man in the parking lot and, along with paramedics from the Normal Fire Department, began to provide aid. He was then taken to St. Joseph. 

Police said Monday that, after investigating the circumstances leading up to the shooting, interviewing witnesses and reviewing evidence, it was determined that the gunshot wound was self-inflicted. 

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that the shooting was believed to be a suicide and to remove the victim's name. 


This morning's top headlines: Monday, Sept. 19

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An American contractor held hostage in Afghanistan for more than two years by the Taliban has been released. The White House and family members said Monday his release came in an exchange for a convicted Taliban drug lord jailed in the United States. Mark Frerichs, a Navy veteran who spent more than a decade in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor, was abducted in January 2020 and is believed to have been held since then by the Taliban-linked Haqqani network. Negotiations for his release centered on a deal that also included the release of Bashir Noorzai, a notorious drug lord and member of the Taliban.

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President Joe Biden says the discovery of top-secret documents at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate raised concerns that sensitive data was compromised and calls it “irresponsible.” In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, Biden says he has not asked for any specifics “because I don’t want to get myself in the middle of whether or not the Justice Department should move or not move on certain actions they could take.” The FBI served a court-authorized search warrant at Trump's Florida home on Aug. 8. Agents took about 11,000 documents, including roughly 100 with classification markings found in a storage room and an office.

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China has criticized President Joe Biden’s statement that American forces would defend Taiwan if Beijing tries to invade as a violation of U.S. commitments about the self-ruled island. Beijing gave no indication of possible retaliation. Biden said “yes” when asked during an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS News’s “60 Minutes” program whether U.S. forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. The comment added to displays of official American support for the island democracy in the face of growing shows of force by the mainland’s ruling Communist Party, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory. China's Foreign Ministry said the U.S. remarks violate Washington’s commitment not to support formal independence for Taiwan, a step Beijing has said would lead to war.

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Contact Kelsey Watznauer at (309) 820-3254. Follow her on Twitter: @kwatznauer.

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