Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Suspect in Illinois Mass Shooting



A Special Forces sergeant first class on leave was identified by the Army Sunday as the suspect in the shooting deaths of three persons at a Rockford, Illinois bowling alley and the wounding of three others.

In a statement, the Army said 37-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Duke Martin, assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, was the suspect being held by Rockford police for arraignment Monday on three counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder.

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At a news conference Sunday morning, Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea named Martin as the suspect who allegedly opened fire at Don Carter Lanes in Rockford on Saturday at about 6:30 p.m., killing three male patrons aged 65 to 73, and wounding two teenagers and a 62-year-old man.

O’Shea alleged that Martin tried to hide two handguns from police who arrested him and also said Martin was an “active member” of the Army.

In confirming Martin’s active duty status, Col. John W. Sannes, commander of 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) said “We are shocked and saddened to learn about this tragic event and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and wounded,” according to the Army statement.

Martin was an assistant operations and intelligence first sergeant serving with the 7th Special Forces Group at Camp Bull Simons on the grounds of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, the statement said.

Martin joined the Army in 2008 and was on leave when the shootings occurred, the Army said. O’Shea said it was not immediately known why Martin was in Rockford or the motives for the shootings.

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara described Don Carter Lanes as a “staple in our community for decades,” sponsoring numerous charity events

Thus far, investigators have found “no relationships between the shooter and the victims. We believe this is a completely random act,” McNamara said.

— Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@military.com. 

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Editor note: This story was updated to reflect Martin’s correct rank.

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