Created:Friday, April 8, 2011 5:30 a.m.CDT
Updated:Friday, April 8, 2011 12:38 p.m.CDT
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Police find gun in suspect's home

By KATE SCHOTT - kschott@daily-chronicle.com
Mark O. Orozco, 24, and Richard F. Van Arsdale III, 20, have been charged with attempted first-degree murder, among other things, in the Tuesday night shooting of linebacker Devon Butler (9). (Chronicle file photo)

Update: OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford said Devon Butler is in critical condition as of 9:40 a.m. A Saint Anthony's spokeswoman said that an update given to the Daily Chronicle earlier in the morning by a staff member of the hospital – which said Butler was in critical, but stable, condition – was incorrectly given to the newspaper. She said it is inaccurate because stable is not considered a condition.

SYCAMORE – Authorities said Thursday they found the gun used in a shooting that left a Northern Illinois University football player critically injured in the residence of the alleged shooter.

Mark O. Orozco, 24, and Richard F. Van Arsdale III, 20, have been charged with attempted first-degree murder, among other things, in the Tuesday night shooting of linebacker Devon Butler.

Police said the two are responsible for firing four rounds from a 9 mm gun while they were in a vehicle into the apartment building at 1009 Aspen Court, where Butler was visiting with friends. One of the bullets struck Butler in the upper right side of his back; he remained in critical condition Thursday at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford.

Phil Montgomery, a prosecutor with the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office, said both men gave videotaped statements to police in which they say Orozco fired the gun and that Van Arsdale drove the vehicle from which the shots were fired.

Bond was set at $1 million each for Orozco and Van Arsdale during Thursday morning hearings at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore.

Both men appeared at their respective hearings via closed-circuit television from the county jail.

During Orozco’s hearing, Montgomery said search warrants were executed Wednesday on Orozco’s DeKalb apartment and vehicle.

During the search of the residence at 1234 Rushmoore Drive, police found a 9 mm gun they believe was used in the shooting, Montgomery said. They also found a few marijuana plants in Orozco’s residence, Montgomery said, as well as a drug ledger and about $800 in cash in the false bottoms of a soft drink bottle and a container of Ajax underneath a sink.

When they searched Orozco’s vehicle, a Dodge Durango, three shell casings were found, Montgomery said. An additional shell casing was found on the roadway where the shots were fired.

Orzoco and Van Arsdale have been charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm. Both are Class X felonies punishable by up to 30 years in prison, or up to 60 years if an extended term applies.

They also are charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm, a Class 1 felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, or up to 30 years if an extended term applies, and unlawful delivery of marijuana, a Class 4 felony punishable by up to three years in prison, or six years if an extended term applies.

NIU spokesman Brad Hoey said the university has issued temporary sanctions against Orozco and Van Arsdale, “essentially expelling them from the university. They are also banned from campus.”

DeKalb Police Chief Bill Feithen said the shooting stemmed from a drug deal gone bad that happened earlier Tuesday. Feithen has stressed that authorities do not believe Butler was involved in or had any knowledge of the drug deal.

Orozco and Van Arsdale intended to sell marijuana to an individual, Feithen said, and that deal was supposed to take place at an arranged location within several hundred feet of the apartment where the shooting took place.

According to court documents, they intended to sell more than 10 grams of marijuana but less than 30 grams.

Court documents identify the person buying the drugs as Austin Saunders. According to court documents, Saunders took the marijuana and fled without paying. Orozco and Van Arsdale followed him to apartment No. 3 of 1009 Aspen Court, but Saunders hid from them, according to court documents.

DeKalb Police Lt. Gary Spangler said charges are pending against Saunders.

Several hours later, a witness saw Orozco and Van Arsdale drive slowly past 1009 Aspen Court and fire a gun into the residence, according to court documents. Police were called at 11:56 p.m. Tuesday for a report of gunshots in the area of Aspen Court and Hillcrest Drive in DeKalb.

“They said that they were angry about having the cannabis stolen and saw subjects inside 1009 Aspen Ct. #3,” according to the police department synopsis in the court files of both men. “They drove past the house and fired 4 rounds from a handgun into the residence, knowing people were inside the home at that time.”

One of those shots penetrated a window and struck Butler, a 19-year-old from Pembroke Pines, Fla., who was a starting linebacker as a sophomore last season. Feithen said Butler was shot on the right side of his upper back, and that bullet fragments have been recovered from his body. Montgomery said one of the other bullets was embedded in the ceiling of the apartment, and the other two struck the side of the building.

Butler initially was taken to Kishwaukee Community Hospital in DeKalb before being airlifted early Wednesday morning to OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center. He underwent surgery Wednesday, and he has been listed in critical condition since his arrival at that hospital.

Van Arsdale lives at 900 Greenbrier Road, which is the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity house. County traffic court records indicate Orozco lived at 900 Greenbrier Road as recently as June.

Hoey said that to his knowledge, the university has taken no type of disciplinary action against the fraternity. Hoey said Orozco had been removed as a member from the Greek organization before Tuesday’s incident. He said Van Arsdale was in the process of being removed from the Greek organization when the shooting occurred. He said he had no official information regarding either individual’s actual residency within the fraternity house.

A message left with the executive director of the national organization of Sigma Alpha Mu was not returned Thursday.

Orozco is next due in court April 21; Van Arsdale is next due on May 2. The public defender’s office was appointed to represent Orozco, while Van Arsdale has retained his own attorneys. Both men would need to post $100,000 each to be released from jail.

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