A Tonica man was apprehended in Iowa early today in connection with a Sunday night attack during which he allegedly shot a Grand Ridge man in the face, causing him to fall 40 feet from a rural bridge.
Richard M. Felton, 28, of Tonica was wanted on counts of attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm, both Class X felonies carrying 6-30 years in prison with no possibility of probation. A warrant was issued fixing bond at $3 million.
Authorities described Felton, nicknamed “Merch,” as a black male standing 6 feet, 1 inch and weighing 170 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. Felton was “considered armed and extremely dangerous,” La Salle County sheriff Tom Templeton and state’s attorney Brian Towne said in a joint press release issued Monday night. Felton was charged after a Grand Ridge man sustained a gunshot injury late Sunday night on the Sandy Ford Bridge east of Leonore.
Jeremy Wade, 28, had crawled his way out of the Vermilion River and to a farmhouse where police were summoned at 11:02 p.m. Sunday. Upon arrival, Wade told authorities he met a man, later identified as Felton, who shot him in the face and “Wade then fell from the bridge into the Vermilion River.” Wade’s fall was subsequently estimated at 40 feet.
Wade was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Streator and then transferred to St. Francis Medical Center, Peoria, where authorities said he remains listed in critical condition.
The search for Wade led authorities to the Bailey Creek subdivision in Tonica, where a tactical team arrived Monday evening to 14 Bailey Creek Drive in search of Felton.
“He (Felton) spent time here,” Templeton said while on scene in Tonica, “and that’s why we’re here.”
Court records show a Richard M. Felton, then a resident of Chicago but the same age as the person wanted in the Sandy Ford case, was convicted in La Salle County of felony aggravated battery in 2007. He was sentenced to 2½ years’ non-reporting probation.
Early this morning, Felton was taken into custody by the FBI/Quad Cities Fugitive Task Force and Bettendorf police. He remained in Iowa pending an extradition hearing.
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