ROCKFORD, Ill. (CBS) — An Army green beret accused of killing three people in a mass shooting at a bowling alley in Rockford was ordered held without bond on Monday.
Duke Webb, a 37-year-old Florida resident and active military member, is facing three counts of first degree murder and three counts of attempted murder. He is a Special Forces Assistant Operations and Intelligence Sergeant assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), according to a statement from the Army.
During his first court appearance on Monday, a Winnebago County judge ordered him held without bail. Webb’s defense attorney, Elizabeth Bucko, said Webb suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder while serving in the Army, and was set to be evaluated for a traumatic brain injury.
The motive for the attack remained unclear Monday night, CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra reported. But more details have emerged about how the attack went down.
Winnebago County prosecutors identified the victims who were killed as 73-year-old Dennis Steinhoff, 65-year-old Thomas Furseth, and 69-year-old Jerome Woodfork.
Prosecutors said four teenagers were sitting at a table at the Don Carter Lanes bowling alley when Webb started shooting at them. A 14-year-old girl was shot in the shoulder and a 14-year-old boy was shot in the face. Both survived.
Furseth began running toward the stairs at the bowling alley when Webb started shooting. Webb shot him in the torso, and Furseth collapsed on the stairs and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to prosecutors.
After shooting Furseth, prosecutors said Webb went upstairs to the second floor, where 20 to 25 people were gathered at the bar. Webb fired several shots at the group in the bar, hitting Steinhoff in the torso. Woodfork also was wounded in that volley, and witnesses saw him fall from the second floor balcony to the parking lot below.
Steinhoff’s body was found on the balcony. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
A 62-year-old an who was in the bar on the second floor also was shot in the thigh, back, neck, groin, and buttocks. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition.
“We heard a pop!” said Matthew Rider.
Rider and his girlfriend had just ordered food at the bowling alley bar, when he said all of a sudden, they heard the sound of gunfire.
“Most of us immediately started heading out the back thinking the worst,” Rider said, “But we were also nervously laughing it off at the same time.”
Rider said he hid behind a box and called 911.
“The shots got really close and I’m pretty sure I saw what I saw, I saw someone get shot on the balcony that wasn’t out in the corner with us,” he said. “I believe he was one of the people that didn’t make it.”
Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea has said when officers arrived on scene they heard shots within the building. Officers went in and apprehended Webb without any officers firing their weapons. O’Shea said the suspect attempted to obscure his ID and hide his weapons before being taken into custody.
The entire shooting was recorded on surveillance video, and prosecutors said Webb admitted to the shooting and told officers where to find the guns he used. Two firearms were recovered at the scene, including a Glock .40-caliber and a Glock .380-caliber.
O’Shea has said Webb has no known ties to the victims.
“We believe this was a completely random act, and there is no prior meeting or any kind of relationship between the suspect and any of the victims in this case,” O’Shea said Sunday. He did not provide information on what led up to the shooting.
O’Shea was asked why there were people at the bowling alley at all since COVID-19 mitigation procedures do not allow places like bowling alleys to be open. He said the bowling alley and separate bar downstairs were closed, but a bar upstairs was within compliance of mitigation efforts. The upstairs bar has an outdoor balcony and double garage doors, he said.
The teens who were at the bowling alley were picking up food for carry-out, according to O’Shea. The 14-year-old boy who was shot was airlifted to a hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, where he was stabilized. The 14-year-old girl who was shot was treated at a local hospital and later released.
CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported tributes were pouring in Monday for Woodfork, who an all-star bowler, local legend, and a mentor to youth. One young Black man told Graves that Woodfork got him interested in the sport.
Tributes are pouring in for one victim, Jerome Woodfork. Im told he was an all-star bowler. A local legend. A mentor to youth. One young black man told me Woodfork got him interested in the sport.
— Steven Graves (@StevenGravesTV) December 28, 2020
Meanwhile, online records list Webb’s address at an Air Force base in the Florida Panhandle. Prosecutors said he was in Rockford on leave visiting family.
His family, who have ties to Illinois and Missouri, told CBS 2 they have no comment.
Friends and family on social media identified Woodfork as a local bowling legend, and said he will be remembered for his skills, his sense of humor, and mentoring youth.
“He was a Hall of Famer in Rockford,” said Jason Heiden, a friend of Woodfork. “I don’t know how many 300 games that dude has. I’ll just never forget that guy’s smile.”
CBS 2 found no prior criminal record for Webb.
Webb joined the army in 2008 and is currently serving as a Special Forces Assistance Operations and Intelligence Sergeant. He was deployed to Afghanistan four times between 2009 and 2020.
During his career in the Army, Webb received the following awards: Bronze Star Medal (2nd award); Army Commendation Medal (2nd award); Army Achievement Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal (4th award); National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal (4 campaign stars); Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; NATO Medal; Presidential Unit Citation; Ranger Tab; Special Forces Tab; Combat Action Badge; Combat Infantryman Badge; Military Freefall Parachutist Badge; Parachute Rigger Badge; and Parachutist Badge.
“The alleged actions of Sgt. 1st Class Duke Webb are abhorrent and are absolutely not representative of the Special Forces Regiment. The vast majority of men and women Green Berets live up to their storied reputation and earn their beret every day. The actions described in reports are shocking and completely out of character with Webb’s 12 years of honorable service. The Rockford Police Department has our complete cooperation. Our heavy hearts and prayers are with the families affected,” U.S. Army Major Gen. John W. Brennan, Commander of 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) said in a statement.
The Webb family released the following statement Tuesday: “We are shocked and saddened to learn of this tragedy. Due as served his country Honorably for twelve years in special forces as a Green Beret. The Webb family is grieving for all those involved. We would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to those impacted and to the community of Rockford.”
This shooting makes 2020 the deadliest year Rockford has seen in decades.
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot, Steven Graves, and Marie Saavedra contributed to this report.
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