New details have emerged about the victims of the Saturday night shooting massacre at an Illinois bowling alley and bar, which left three people dead and injured three others.
The casualties in Rockford include a local bowling legend, a respected basketball referee, and two teenagers who were brutally shot while they had been sitting at a table in the Don Carter Lanes bowling complex when the alleged shooter unexpectedly opened fire, according to authorities and those who knew the victims.
Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley announced three charges of first-degree murder and three charges of first-degree attempted murder against 37-year-old Duke Webb at a Monday press conference streamed online by local station WTVO-TV.
Webb has been identified by the Army as a special forces assistant operations and intelligence sergeant assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne). He had been in Rockford visiting family over the holidays when he allegedly carried out the attack, according to WBBM-TV.
Hanley also provided new details about what happened inside the Rockford bowling complex Saturday night just before 7 p.m., which was when a witness described hearing “multiple gunshots” on the first floor of the complex.
A 16-year-old female who had been sitting at a table on the first floor with three other teenagers was shot in the shoulder while another 14-year-old male at the table was shot in the face. Both teens survived, but the male has been listed in critical condition at a local hospital, Hanley said.
The gunman then turned his attention to 65-year-old Thomas Furseth, who had been on the first floor of the building when the shooting began.
“Mr. Furseth began running toward the stairs when the defendant shot him in the torso,” Hanley said. “He was able to run up the stairs before he collapsed.”
Furseth was dead at the scene by the time police arrived, Hanley said.
According to the prosecutor, Webb headed up to the second floor of the complex, where about 20 to 25 people were gathered at a bar, and opened fire, fatally striking 73-year-old Dennis Steinhoff in the torso and 69-year-old Jerome Woodfork in the neck.
After Woodfork was struck, he fell over a balcony onto the parking lot below, where his body was later discovered, Hanley said.
A 62-year-old male who had also been in the bar was shot in the thigh, back, neck, groin, and buttocks.
“The victim is still alive but in critical condition,” Hanley said, adding that the entire incident had been captured on video surveillance on the property.
Rockford Police arrived at the scene and took Webb into custody inside the building.
“The defendant admitted to the shootings and directed officers to the locations of the firearms he used,” Hanley said.
Police recovered a 40-caliber Glock and 380-caliber Glock at the scene “behind a bag that belonged to the defendant.” Neither weapon had been military-issued, Hanley said.
Hanley declined to discuss a possible motive in the case.
“I can’t comment as to the defendant’s intent or what his plans were when he arrived at Don Carter’s,” he said.
Webb’s defense attorney Ela Bucko argued in court that Webb may have post-traumatic stress disorder and that he is expected to undergo mental health evaluations, according to the Rockford Register Star.
A decorated Special Forces sergeant, Webb had served in four tours of duty in Afghanistan since he joined the Army in 2008.
In a statement to the media, Major General John W. Brennan, commander of the 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) called Webb’s alleged actions “abhorrent.”
“The vast majority of men and women Green Berets live up to their storied reputation and earn their beret every day,” he said. “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.”
Those who knew the victims are now left grieving after the attack.
Woodfork is remembered as an all-star bowler who often spent his time mentoring young people.
“He was a Hall of Famer in Rockford,” friend Jason Heiden told WBBM. “I don’t know how many 300 games that dude has. I’ll just never forget that guy’s smile.”
Bob Crosty shared a photo of Woodfork on Facebook holding a bowling ball and called him a “very classy guy” and “great friend to all.”
Steinhoff’s long-time friend, Steve Franck, also posted to social media to honor the local referee, describing “22 great years together on the courts.”
“A sad day for me today, my dear friend and basketball partner Dennis Steinhoff was shot and killed during a random shooting last night in Rockford,” he wrote. “Prayers please for him and his family.”
Linda Furseth confirmed on Facebook that her brother Thomas was one of the victims killed in the attack, writing that the family is now trying to find a home for her brother’s “poor dog.”
Hanley said Webb appeared in court Monday afternoon and was ordered to be held without bail.
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