Illinois: Shooting at State Capitol!


Bud Wiser
September 20, 2004, 04:24 PM
Illinois' Governor, Rod Blagoyovich, is a rabid anti-gunner and may try to use this event as outlined in the following news report to ram more Draconian gun laws through the Illinois House and Senate in Springfield and make Mayor Daley happy.

It appears the Shooter just strolled in and opened up for no good particular reason. And of course he got away and so far nobody seen nothin'.....Isn't that Special?

And it's only one week since the AWB ban Expired.

Don't we all anticipate that there will be more of these spur of the moment and unexpected attacks taking place at schools, malls & it also seems, State Congressional Buildings to demonstrate that we need stricter gun control laws?

How many of us will be actually surprised when the first shoot-out takes place at a hospital or church sometime in the next 60 days?

Especially before the November Elections.

It's called Black Ops and we can all guess who's behind them....:scrutiny: :scrutiny:

Security Guard Shot at State Capitol

By Ryan Keith
Associated Press Writer

September 20, 2004, 3:01 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD -- An unarmed security guard was shot just inside the state Capitol entrance this afternoon, and authorities were searching for the shooter, who apparently fled.

The shooter entered the north entrance and shot the security guard at about 1:45 p.m., then escaped in a vehicle, said Randy Nehrt, a spokesman for the Secretary of State's Office, which has law enforcement jurisdiction over the building. He said the shooter had not yet been caught an hour later.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich was not in the Capitol at the time, and the Legislature is not in session.

Dave DeFraties, chief of operations with the Springfield Fire Department, said paramedics were called to treat someone who had been shot and that the victim was taken to a hospital. He said he could not release details of the person's conditions.

The Capitol entrance has no metal detectors, and its law enforcement officers are not armed.

``It just sounded like a bomb went off. Then someone immediately yelled, 'Someone's been shot,''' said Leslie Root, who works for state Sen. Chris Lauzen on the first floor near the location of the shooting.

She said staff went inside the office and locked the door.

The Capitol was locked down for about an hour, following an announcement over the intercom ordering everyone to stay in their offices.

Outside, police cars and ambulances surrounded the building, and officers roped off the entrance. After the lockdown was lifted, everyone entering the building was required to sign in, rather than the usual procedure of simply showing a badge to enter.,0,1946674,print.story?coll=chi-newsbreaking-hed
:scrutiny: :scrutiny:

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erik the bold
September 20, 2004, 05:34 PM
Maybe if the "security" guards were armed, there would have been a different ourcome. I'll pray for the guard, though.........

September 20, 2004, 05:40 PM
I wonder why it's taking them so long to use their brilliant firearm owner ID card system to track down the shooter. Oh, the FOID system doesn't prevent or solve crimes? Silly me.

September 20, 2004, 06:06 PM
I hope the shooter used a double barreled Elmer Fudd gun. Then the hunters might feel the need to get up off their asses and fight the antis when they come for their deadly roombroom scatterguns.

Also make John Forgery Kerry look like a dumbass totin' a shotgun that supposedly can't be used to commit crimes like those evil AK-47s

The Real Mad Max
September 20, 2004, 06:20 PM
It's called Black Ops and we can all guess who's behind them....

Let me guess...the Cigarette Smoking Man? :eek:

Jeff White
September 20, 2004, 06:48 PM
It looks like the weapon may have been a shotgun. I'll try to get the latest when I go to work at 8 tonight. This will surely give the Daley bunch a tradgedy to beat up the legislature with in the upcoming veto session.
Guard shot and killed at Illinois Capitol
Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- An unarmed security guard was shot to death just inside a state Capitol entrance Monday afternoon, and authorities were searching for the shooter, who escaped in a car.

About 4:45 p.m., Springfield police surrounded an apartment building about three blocks from the Capitol. Authorities did not say whether they thought the gunman was still in the building.

The shooter entered the north entrance and shot the security guard at about 1:45 p.m., said Randy Nehrt, a spokesman for the Secretary of State's Office, which has law enforcement jurisdiction over the building.

The attack was fast, with the gunman immediately firing one shot that hit the guard in the chest and then getting out, putting a gun in the trunk of a car and driving away, said Col. Larry Schmidt, chief deputy director of the Secretary of State Police. He said the guard died in a hospital operating room.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich was not in the Capitol at the time, and the Legislature is not in session.

At least three or four people saw the shooter, Schmidt said. Most of the witnesses were outside, and officials were also reviewing footage from surveillance cameras in the area, he said.

Springfield police said they also were investigating another shooting about an hour earlier at a military surplus store about 2 miles from the Capitol involving a man who matched the description of the Capitol shooter.

The Capitol entrance where the man was shot has no metal detectors, and its security guards are not armed.

Leslie Root, who works for state Sen. Chris Lauzen on the first floor near the location of the shooting, said she and her colleagues heard the gunshot.

"It just sounded like a bomb went off. Then someone immediately yelled, 'Someone's been shot,"' Root said.

She said the staff rushed inside the office and locked the door.

An announcement over the intercom ordered everyone to stay in their offices, and the building was locked down for about an hour.

Outside, police cars and ambulances surrounded the building, and officers roped off the entrance. After the lockdown was lifted, armed officers were in the halls and everyone entering the building was required to sign in, rather than the usual procedure of simply showing a badge.

Springfield Deputy Police Chief Jim Burton said someone matching the description of the Capitol shooter and carrying a 12-gauge shotgun had gone into a nearby military surplus store, Birds and Brooks, at about 12:25 p.m. and demanded a high-powered rifle.

The man, described as white and about 20 years old, fled after the owner recognized him as someone who had stolen a shotgun on Sept. 14, locked himself in his office and began shooting through the door, Burton said.

A man with the same description went to the Capitol a little over an hour later and shot a security guard, Burton said. He said Springfield Police are investigating the two shootings as possibly connected.

Police said they were searching for a silver or gray two-door car.


Associated Press reporters Christopher Wills in Springfield and Nicole Ziegler Dizon in Chicago contributed to this report.

Sergeant Sabre
September 20, 2004, 09:56 PM
How did this happen? Isn't thier capitol building a gun-free zone? Must not be. Funny how that works.

May God have mercy on the soul of the guard, if it is right that he should do so...

2nd Amendment
September 20, 2004, 11:35 PM
I'm just sort of sitting back waiting. I'd like to think it won't happen and I'd like to think there's no one in government at any level who would do such things. OTOH, if we're to believe the left, we have a sitting president who started an entire war for oil or vengeance or because he's on medication or(insert nefarious scheme/reason here). As such that same group, at least, shouldn't find it that difficult to believe someone like Schumer would see offing a few hicks in fly-over country to further his agenda as acceptable.

Afterall, it's for a good cause...

September 20, 2004, 11:52 PM
I wonder why it's taking them so long to use their brilliant firearm owner ID card system to track down the shooter. Oh, the FOID system doesn't prevent or solve crimes? Silly me.

You mean the criminals don't use their FOID to buy their guns at a gun shop?:rolleyes:

The 9:00 news did say that it was a shotgun. They thought they had located the person in an apartment but it turned out to be false.

I don't know why the security guard wasn't armed. What's the point in having security? Especially in a government facility. Is a dirty look supposed to turn criminals away.

Don't even get me started on Hitler, err, I mean Daley.:mad:

Roadkill Coyote
September 21, 2004, 12:13 AM
Well, according to this from The State Journal-Register (, the likely shooter stole the shotgun on Tuesday, by going in as an employee opened the store, immediately jumping the counter, grabbing the shotgun and running. Would he have pulled it off if the employee opening the store had a legally carried weapon on him? Well, when he went back to get a rifle, an employee had access to a gun, and he left with only what he brought.

It seems clear that CCW might have prevented this tragedy. I look forward to more information.

September 21, 2004, 01:02 AM
That's incredible that the LEOs at the state capitol are unarmed!

brad cook

Roadkill Coyote
September 21, 2004, 01:47 AM
I apologize for the link, The Journal-Register has updated the story, including new information on the suspect, but dropping the mention of how the first robbery occurred. In the earlier version of the story it mentions the employee opening the store.

Don Gwinn
September 21, 2004, 02:18 AM
I see what you meant at TFL, Coyote. The employee wasn't armed when he entered the store because he couldn't legally carry until he arrived. Interesting take.

I wonder why it's taking them so long to use their brilliant firearm owner ID card system to track down the shooter. Oh, the FOID system doesn't prevent or solve crimes? Silly me.
The inconsiderate honyock didn't have the decency to apply for a FOID card like a well-behaved criminal; but don't worry, because they're charging him with that, too! Thank God. They'll probably give him a longer sentence for the crime of "no FOID" as the SJ-R so eloquently puts it, than for murdering Mr. Wozniak in cold blood.

The very randomness of it is what's chilling. . . . it makes NO sense at all.

Once he killed the guard, he was unopposed and had the free run of the Capitol for at least a minute or two until armed Sec'y of State police (they do have those in the Capitol, just not at entrances) responded with firearms and dogs. He chose instead to withdraw. Thank God he did, because he could have just used up his ammo at his leisure if he'd been willing to trade his life for the privilege, and people this crazy often are.

Security at the Capitol entrances is a joke. Unarmed rent-a-cops have small tables or podiums (podia?) where they keep a log book you must sign. You're also supposed to print your name and DL number. I don't know what that was supposed to accomplish, but I signed in as "Rusty Shackleford" when I was reporting at the Capitol for a living and generally made up numbers at random. I was never asked about it.
(I wasn't paranoid or anything, just a big "King of the Hill" fan.)

Metal detectors would NOT have prevented this.

Arming the current guards would NOT have prevented this.

Arming police officers at the doors would probably NOT have prevented this.

Even posting Marines probably would not have prevented this.

If someone decides to target the guards themselves without warning, nothing can save them but their own awareness of danger--which has been systematically ground down to nothing by years of uneventful, yawn-inducing days of watching the peaceful crowd go by.

Roadkill Coyote
September 21, 2004, 02:56 AM
Well, that's what the initial story on the Journal-Register's site suggested, so I'm very curious about the possibility. There's a guy over on ARFCOM who was in the store later that day, but he hasn't responded to my post over there yet.

As to prevention, the US capitol had metal detectors and guns at the time of the shooting there in '98. The only thing that could have really made a differance in either situation, is time to react. In this case, if they had more people, and one of them monitoring outside CCTV, then they might have been able to react. Time and warning are the greatest of luxuries, are they not?

Oh, and for the record, although I doubt arming the guards would have prevented this, the fact that they were put there, unarmed and defensless, is utterly inexcusable.

Sleeping Dog
September 21, 2004, 01:19 PM
Coyote, you're right that arming the guards might not prevent the killing. A sad situation. But arming the guards might have caused the immediate termination of the shooter by one of the other guards.

It's interesting that one of the solutions proposed by the Governor is "more guns", even if they're just limited to the security folks.

If more guns make the security folks safer, imagine what they'd do for the rest of the civilian population.


Nathaniel Firethorn
September 21, 2004, 01:31 PM

- pdmoderator

Don Gwinn
September 21, 2004, 01:44 PM
The man, described as white and about 20 years old, fled after the owner recognized him as someone who had stolen a shotgun on Sept. 14, locked himself in his office and began shooting through the door, Burton said.

That is REALLY inaccurate and inflammatory. They make it sound like Dale locked the door, loaded up Ol' Bessie, and just started blasting away.

Now, I agree that shooting through a door is not a good idea, but the local NBC affiliate was running the video of Burton explaining these events this morning. What he actually said was that Dale locked himself in the office and loaded the shotgun, but did not fire. Then the SUSPECT fired through the door at Dale, who then felt he had no choice and returned fire through the door. There's still no indication of whether he knew where his son was as he fired or even that the son was in the store.

No, shooting through a door does not allow you to identify your target, but when you're locked into a very small room with big windows on the other side and rounds are incoming, you try doing that math instantly.

I hate reporters.

In other news, the local radio station has decided that Potts was after an "assault weapon" because the police said he wanted a long gun. . . . even though at the press conference they carried live, their own reporter asked that question and was told that there was no indication that the perpetrator cared what rifle he got as long as it was a rifle, and that the information about him seeking long guns had only been given out to make it clear that he had not asked for handguns. Don't know why that was a big deal, but whatever.
The point is that they've actually been told by the people who know that there's no evidence at all for that assertion, but they chose to make it anyway.

I don't know who said it, but at work yesterday I walked past a TV and distinctly heard the words "12-gauge handgun wound in his arm."
At the same press conference, another reporter stated that a shotgun probably was not used if there were no "BB's" on the floor of the Capitol, since that's all a shotgun can fire.
Most disturbing was the reporter who asked FOUR TIMES for the officer to explain the difference between long guns and handguns.

September 21, 2004, 01:58 PM
More idiots per square inch in the media than any other place.
Arming the security staff might have prevented this assault the same way our CCW permits do - knowledge that some one there might just stamp his ticket PAID, might have influenced him to try somewhere else, or give it up.
Wow, crime in gun free Illinois....who'd a thunk it? That's almost like violnet crime in peacful disarmed Washington DC, or peace loving gun free New York City/New Jersey......:fire:

six 4 sure
September 21, 2004, 02:32 PM
Anyone want to take bets a state 'assualt weapon' ban is proposed by the end of the month?

September 21, 2004, 02:45 PM
The best thing that could happen now is for the antis to go crazy and turn regular shotguns into banned 'assault weapons'. Every redneck elmer fudd in the state will be up in arms to vote them out.

Maybe when their guns are on the chopping block more of them will pay attention. When the antis start saying stuff like 'A single shotgun blast has the same firepower as 9 shots from a submachinegun' it might get some hunters off their asses.

September 21, 2004, 03:21 PM
'A single shotgun blast has the same firepower as 9 shots from a submachinegun' it might get some hunters off their asses.

Sad, but true. :(

Jeff White
September 21, 2004, 03:33 PM
I had a friend tell me last night that the St Louis TV stations were reporting that the suspect had demanded an assault rifle. Odd how the press never gets anything right and gets pretty creative in filling in the missing details.

Potts is from about 40 miles from where I live. I'll ask a Richland County deputy I know if he knows him. Given that Potts had a record, it's likely someone I know knws him.
Suspect apprehended in state police shooting
By Ryan Keith
Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- A man suspected of fatally shooting an unarmed guard inside the state Capitol was arrested without incident Tuesday morning as he knocked on doors in a residential neighborhood, police said.

Authorities had been searching for Derek W. Potts since Monday afternoon, when they allege he marched into the state Capitol and shot 51-year-old William Wozniak in the chest, then walked back out the main entrance, stowed his gun in a car trunk and drove away.

"He's in custody," Deputy Police Chief Jim Burton said following the 7:15 a.m. arrest. "We're interviewing him now."

Potts was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder, burglary and gun violations.

State's Attorney John Schmidt said Potts would face 45 years to life in prison if convicted. He said his office was reviewing the possibility of seeking the death penalty.

Acting on a tip, police searched Potts' apartment in Springfield late Monday and discovered a shotgun that had been stolen a week earlier from a military surplus store, though officials weren't sure if it was the gun used in the Capitol shooting, Burton said.

Then, around dawn on Tuesday, police were called about a man matching the description of the Capitol shooter who was knocking on doors and asking for a ride to the police station, Police Chief Donald Kliment said. He said Potts was unarmed when an officer found him.

Phillip Giger, 50, who lives in the neighborhood where Potts was apprehended, said he was making coffee when he heard several car doors slam shut. He looked out the window and saw more than a dozen police cars and a man matching the description of the shooter talking with authorities in the street, he said.

Police cuffed the man, patted him down and placed him in a squad car, Giger said.

"There were no sirens, not a one," he said. "They were so quiet my dog didn't even notice it."

Police didn't know the motive for the shooting and knew of no connection between Potts and Wozniak.

Potts, originally from the small downstate town of Olney, has some traffic offenses and two misdemeanor drug charges on his record, both resulting in fines and court supervision, Richland County officials said.

"He didn't have any unusual circumstances, as far as the criminal cases we had," said Richland County State's Attorney Kaye DeSelms. "There were no red flags."

Potts attended Olney Central College and had recently enrolled in the criminal justice program at the University of Illinois at Springfield, but he withdrew from UIS on Sept. 13 after less than a month, university spokeswoman Cheryl Peck said.

Police believe Potts was involved in a robbery at a military surplus store the following day, Sept. 14. Then on Monday, shortly after noon, someone matching Potts' description walked in the same military surplus store carrying a 12-gauge shotgun and demanded a high-powered rifle, but fled when the owner recognized him, police said.

A little over an hour later, at about 1:38 p.m., Potts apparently drove up to the Capitol's main entrance, walked in and shot the guard once in the chest, then drove off with his tires squealing and witnesses shouting for help, said Col. Larry Schmidt, chief deputy director of the Secretary of State's police force.

The building doesn't have metal detectors, and the security guards are unarmed.

"I heard the blast," tourist Steve Bubb of Peru told the Chicago Sun-Times. "Then, I saw this guy lowering an object that looked to be a gun, turn around and walk out the door."

Wozniak, who had worked at the Capitol for 18 years, died at a hospital shortly after the shooting, Col. Schmidt said.

Rep. Rich Brauer, R-Petersburg, had known Wozniak for about 30 years. He said Wozniak had a wife and two teenage children and had moved to the small community of Petersburg decades ago to escape the violence of Detroit.

"What can you say? He was just real friendly and outgoing," Brauer said. "To me it's incredible that we have this guy that is in charge of security at the Capitol, and he's there with no protection at all. And a guy comes in with a gun."

Secretary of State Jesse White, who manages the Capitol, had previously asked lawmakers to install metal detectors but said it never happened because of budget constraints and a debate over concerns it would turn the seat of government into a fortress.

"That debate is now over," Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Tuesday.

Blagojevich said he would issue an executive order to install metal detectors as soon as possible and would consider other security upgrades, including arming the guards. He said he also would commission an expert from the U.S. Capitol to consult on the security changes and might be able to pay for the changes with Homeland Security funds.

Tuesday morning, state workers and visitors were met by armed police outside the Capitol entrances, but inside, the security guards were still unarmed and there were no metal detectors.

The attack had happened quickly, with the gunman entering the north entrance just long enough to fire a shot that hit the guard in the chest, Col. Schmidt said. He said metal detectors likely wouldn't have prevented the attack, though others say they could be a deterrent.

The Legislature was not in session, and Gov. Rod Blagojevich was not in Springfield at the time.

No one saw the shooting take place but several people saw the suspect leaving, Col. Schmidt said. He said officials were also reviewing surveillance tapes.


Associated Press reporters Christopher Wills and John O'Connor in Springfield and Megan Reichgott in Chicago contributed to this report.

Jeff White
September 21, 2004, 03:47 PM

Shooting of guard terrorizes Illinois Capitol
Post-Dispatch Springfield Bureau

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Illinois' capital city remained on edge late Monday as police searched for a gunman who walked into the ornate seat of state government and murdered a security guard within earshot of the governor's office.

Police say a man carrying a long-barreled gun stepped through the glass doors at the north entrance of the Illinois Capitol about 1:35 p.m. Monday and fired a single shot into the chest of the unarmed security guard stationed in the entry hallway. Witnesses say the gunman then walked back out to his car - a silver or gray two-door foreign economy car with no plates - put the gun in the trunk and drove off.

The guard, William Peter Wozniak, 51, of Petersburg, Ill. - a bedroom community northwest of Springfield - died in surgery Monday. He had been employed at the Capitol since March 1986. He is survived by his wife, Sheila, a 16-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter.

By late Monday, police had announced a murder warrant for a Springfield man identified as Derek Potts, 24, previously of Olney, Ill. Potts was identified as white, 5 feet 8 inches tall, 125 pounds, clean-shaven with medium-length dark hair. He apparently has no prior criminal record.

Police were guarded in what they would reveal about the information they have on Potts, but said he is considered dangerous. They are asking anyone with information about him to call 217-558-0672. The motive for the shooting was unknown as of late Monday. Gov. Rod Blagojevich was in Chicago at the time of the shooting, and the Legislature wasn't in session.

The shooting "was an act of brutality that took place at the front door of our state government," Blagojevich said later Monday, after flying to Springfield following news of the guard's death. "I want to make something very clear here: We will not allow cold-blooded killers to keep the people of Illinois away from their government."

But Blagojevich predicted that the state's unusually open Capitol building soon would have metal detectors and armed guards.

Secretary of State Jesse White - whose office is in charge of Capitol security - agreed. He noted pointedly in a news conference late Monday that he had sought metal detectors in the Capitol and was rebuffed by legislators who "didn't want it to look like an armed camp."

Gun shop robberies

Late Monday, officials were trying to piece together the events leading up to the shooting, which may have included two altercations in the past week at a gun shop on Springfield's south side.

Police say a man fitting Potts' description snatched a 12-gauge shotgun from the Birds 'N Brooks Army Navy Surplus store on South Sixth Street just after the store opened the morning of Sept. 14.

The man returned to the store about 12:30 p.m. Monday - an hour before the Capitol shooting - and attempted to rob the store using the stolen shotgun. Police say the robber indicated that he wanted more firearms, specifically assault rifles.

Springfield Deputy Police Chief Jim Burton said the owner of the gun store had locked himself in a separate room. Burton said Dale Patterson, the owner, had fired several shots at the robber through a closed door, accidentally shooting his adult son, Dale Patterson II, in the left shoulder.

The gunman fled. The younger Patterson's injuries weren't life-threatening, Burton said.

Neither Patterson could be reached for comment Monday. The gun shop was closed and locked by Monday afternoon.

A few hours after the Capitol shooting, Springfield police, acting on a tip regarding the gun shop robbery, surrounded an apartment building four blocks from the Capitol where they believe Potts lived. Police cordoned off traffic and pedestrians for several hours as they awaited a warrant to search the building's interior. When they finally did, they found no one inside.

But Springfield Police Lt. Doug Williamson said that police had found the stolen shotgun and that a car similar to the one described by witnesses was found in the parking lot. Police didn't know if the gun was used in the Capitol shooting.

An open Capitol

The state Capitol, completed in 1888, is a towering, silver-domed structure with wood and marble interiors so imposing that has been used as the backdrop for Hollywood films set in the U.S. Capitol.

For years, the Capitol was open-access, with almost no restrictions on people entering it from any side. That changed after the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, when, for several months, the Capitol guards were armed and cars were searched before they entered the circular drive to the north doors - which is where the gunman parked. Those restrictions have long since been lifted.

The scene in and around the Capitol was chaotic Monday afternoon, as police were initially unsure whether the gunman was still in the building. An announcement over the intercom ordered state workers to stay in their offices, and the building was locked down for about an hour.

Outside, police cars and ambulances surrounded the building, and officers roped off the entrance. Schools were locked down briefly, and students at schools near the Capitol were not allowed to walk home alone.

Though several people saw the gunman leave the building, no one witnessed the shooting. People throughout the building heard the shot.

"I heard a 'boom' - something that sounded almost like a bomb," said Judy Johnson, an administrative assistant to state Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood. "I thought maybe something had crashed into the building."

Leslie Root works for state Sen. Chris Lauzen on the first floor near where Wozniak was shot.

"It just sounded like a bomb went off," she said. "Then someone immediately yelled, 'Someone's been shot.'" She said the staff had rushed inside the office and locked the door.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Harry Tuttle
September 21, 2004, 04:13 PM
Monday's brutal murder of an unarmed Illinois Capitol security officer by a shotgun-wielding killer proves that restrictive gun laws like those in the Prairie State cannot stop determined criminals, and never have, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) said today.

"If the Draconian gun laws in Illinois worked," said CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron, "then security guard William Wozniak would still be alive. Instead, the anti-gun philosophy has so permeated politics in Illinois that cold-blooded killers can stroll right up to the Capitol with a shotgun, while security guards are expected to perform their duty unarmed.

"This mindset is not simply limited to Springfield," Waldron noted. "Up in Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley continues pushing his gun-hating hysteria by scraping up arguments against a new federal law that allows retired and off-duty police officers to carry firearms all over the country, including in the City of Chicago. He says this law will make Chicago's streets less safe. Well, perhaps that's true, if you're a criminal. Guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens, including off-duty and retired police officers, have never been a threat to anyone."

Waldron praised police in Springfield for quickly tracking down and arresting the suspect, who is also being held for an armed robbery committed prior to the Capitol shooting.

"Mayor Daley would have us believe that Springfield officers, either off-duty or after they retire, are somehow less trustworthy," Waldron observed. "He would extend that same insult to officers from across the nation. He might as well hang a sign at the Chicago city limits that says ‘off-duty and retired cops not welcome here.'

"While Daley and his soulmates in Springfield, including Gov. Rod Blagojevich, will no doubt rationalize that Monday's tragedy is somehow the fault of some imagined ‘loophole' in the gun law," Waldron suggested, "the truth is that restrictive gun laws, promoted by Daley and his ilk, have never prevented a single violent crime. These laws have penalized honest citizens, while criminals are left to roam the streets and gun down unarmed security guards and other citizens. It's time to stop punishing law-abiding gun owners for crimes like Monday's outrage, and it is also time arm Capitol security officers, so that good people like William Wozniak will never again be targets of opportunity for murderous lunatics."

With more than 650,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is one of the nation's premier gun rights organizations. As a non-profit organization, the Citizens Committee is dedicated to preserving firearms freedoms through active lobbying of elected officials and facilitating grass-roots organization of gun rights activists in local communities throughout the United States.

Roadkill Coyote
September 21, 2004, 05:16 PM
from the above story,

Police say a man fitting Potts' description snatched a 12-gauge shotgun from the Birds 'N Brooks Army Navy Surplus store on South Sixth Street just after the store opened the morning of Sept. 14.

from a customer who was in the store later that day,

When I was there last week, Dale Sr. was saying that the kid was there at opening time. As Dale turned to the right to go behind the register, the kid turned left, made it back to the rifles, then he jumped the counter, and grabbed the shotgun. Didn't sound like he even ran out, walked quickly towards the door. I guess Dale tried to tackle him but missed. I'm so suprised he didn't just walk in fireing the second time. I haven't heard the news yet today, don't know if they caught anyone yet or not.

If the employee (or owner) could have legally carried from home, would he still have been reduced to trying to tackle a guy in the process of stealing a deadly weapon? Could CCW in Illinois have prevented this in the first place?

September 21, 2004, 11:18 PM
There seems to be a big outcry for metal detectors, but the last article I read says the guards have never been issued body armor. I'd rather they spend my money on something that could've potentially saved this guy's life (like armor) than something that only creates an illusion of security.

I guess they really want greeters at the capitol and not guards.


2nd Amendment
September 21, 2004, 11:29 PM
If the employee (or owner) could have legally carried from home, would he still have been reduced to trying to tackle a guy in the process of stealing a deadly weapon? Could CCW in Illinois have prevented this in the first place?

I know we'd all love to be able to make that case but it's something of a stretch here, isn't it? I mean the kid grabbed a shotgun off the rack. There's no real doubt it was unloaded at the time, correct? So even had the owner been armed, what would he have done? Drawn? And what...? If the kid kept on going, as seems likely, he really couldn't have done a thing more than he did anyway. Not and avoid criminal and civil charges, anyway.

September 22, 2004, 12:02 AM
The thing I'm really upset about is WHERE are the cameras??? I mean come on, I live in the communist hole of IL and we have cameras EVERYWHERE at stoplights and most intersections but they DIDN'T where this guy was shot??? This is just another chance to make meaningless laws in IL.........I expect nothing less from our wonderful reactionary "leaders". And yes, it is very difficult to type "leaders" when speaking of IL without vomiting on my keyboard.

sorry for the rant.


September 22, 2004, 12:07 AM
Oh, you mean like the cameras that can deter crime in Chicago's worst west side neighborhoods?

September 22, 2004, 01:09 AM
np on rant Logistics. if I lived in Illinois I would rant too.

I sure hope they dont put some new crazy anti gun laws in Illinois that catch to surrounding states.

had to stay a few days in chicagoland last week. very glad to be back home.

that state is sick. cannot help but think what would of happened had president lincoln had a pistol and could of seen booth coming. he could of died still but he would of atleast of had a fighting chance. unfortunately so many people in Illinois are condemned to similar ending due to laws and faulty politics and policies.

Harry Tuttle
September 22, 2004, 08:57 AM
It appears all the publicity on the assault weapon ban set the shooter off.

September 22, 2004, 01:22 PM
Who wants to bet that Daley has armed guards for himself?:rolleyes:

Jeff White
September 22, 2004, 05:32 PM
I guess we'll just go to any lengths to say it wasn't the criminal's fault :rolleyes:
The weapon is a long barrellled gun in this article...goose hunters look out, your arm of choice may just have been used in a high profile crime. I can hear the hysteria now; "If only he had had a sawed off gun the pattern might have spread enough to spare the life of the guard...we must out law those long range one needs to shoot a goose that's higher then about 50 feet in the air anyway, it's just not sporting" :uhoh:

Oh and let's not forget this little gem from the article;
None of Potts' previous run-ins with the law have involved firearms, and there were no indications in Olney Tuesday that Potts was particularly obsessive about guns - although most residents interviewed said gun ownership is common here.
Arrest fails to provide answers in shooting
By Kevin McDermott
Post-Dispatch Springfield Bureau

Derek W. Potts is a suspect in the shooting of an unarmed security guard inside a Illinois State Capitol entrance Monday, in Springfield, Ill.

OLNEY, Ill. - To the few people around Olney who knew anything about Derek W. Potts, he was a rambunctious but harmless young man. His two brushes with the law - for minor drug and alcohol infractions - were the kinds of teenage troubles that people in this picturesque rural community of 8,500 dismiss with a shrug.

Potts' hometown consequently was baffled Tuesday by the news that he was the man accused of walking into the state Capitol Monday afternoon and fatally shooting an unarmed guard in the chest.

In Springfield, Ill., Sangamon County state's attorney John Schmidt offered a possible explanation: Potts has a bipolar disorder and was off his medication. Schmidt said he might seek the death penalty in the case.

Potts, 24, a college dropout who split his time between his mother's house in Olney and an apartment in Springfield more than two hours to the northwest, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in the killing of William Wozniak, 51, a father of two.

The crime has stunned Springfield because of its apparent randomness and has state officials from the governor on down rethinking Illinois' standing tradition of an open, accessible seat of government.

Wozniak was shot at close range with a long-barreled gun about 1:35 p.m. Monday as he checked identification of people entering the silver-domed state Capitol near downtown Springfield. Police later said they had linked the shooting with two earlier altercations at a Springfield gun shop, including the theft of a shotgun.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich wasn't in the building at the time, and the Legislature wasn't in session.

Potts was arrested without incident early Tuesday morning as he wandered a residential neighborhood looking for someone to drive him to the police station. Following an initial court appearance in Springfield, he was ordered held on $20 million bail.

In Olney - where locals brag about their unusual population of albino white squirrels, and fret about the rural methamphetamine market in the area - residents Tuesday were stunned at this sudden new notoriety for their town.

"He just seemed like a nice young man," said Mike Black, who lives down a heavily wooded lane from the log-style home southeast of Olney that Potts shared, on and off, with his mother and other family members in recent years. Black - retired from Olney's once-thriving oil business - said his son used to play basketball with Potts. "We never had any trouble with him."

Black's daughter, Justine Black, 21, said she used to work blood drives at Olney Central College, where she and Potts both were students a few years ago. "He would come in and give blood and we would talk a lot. He was nice."

In Olney's downtown strip of storefronts and wide, uncrowded streets, Jim Newlin, owner of Jim's Barber Shop, called the Pottses "a class-A family." He'd cut the hair of family members, including Derek, for 18 years, he said. "He was very particular about it - he liked it long in some places, short in others. His mother let him have it however he wanted it."

Potts' mother, Jane Potts, a fourth-grade teacher at a local elementary school, could not be reached Tuesday. Neighbors said Derek Potts has a younger brother. It was unclear whether his father lives at the house.

The house - a neatly tended, country-kitsch place surrounded by split-rail fences and set so deep in heavy woods that no neighbors are visible - is the kind of setting Olney residents pride themselves on. Though rural and somewhat isolated, the town has an oil-rich past, still seen in its lakeside country club and the larger homes outside of town.

"It's a nice quiet town," said Elaine Pierzchalski, who lives in the same wooded area as the Pottses. "I moved here from Chicago in 1961, and I didn't like it in the beginning, but I wouldn't move back for anything."

Like most residents in the area, Pierzchalski said she knew the Pottses only in passing. "I knew (Derek) had had some problems in past - drinking-and-drugs kind of things - but no more than a lot of kids."

Local authorities say Potts had come to their attention just twice over the years: In April 2001 for underage drinking and resisting arrest, and in August 2002, for possession of cannabis. Both offenses resulted in fines and supervision.

"There were no red flags," said Richland County State's Attorney Kaye DeSelms. She said she'd had to review Potts' records Tuesday to even recall having dealt with him in the past. "From what I can tell, he paid all the fines and did what he was supposed to do."

An official at Olney Central College declined to discuss Potts. Other officials have said Potts recently dropped out of the criminal justice program at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Among the charges facing Potts are weapons charges, related to allegations that he stole a shotgun from a Springfield gun shop last week and then returned an hour before the Capitol shooting and tried, unsuccessfully, to hold the place up for high-powered rifles.

None of Potts' previous run-ins with the law have involved firearms, and there were no indications in Olney Tuesday that Potts was particularly obsessive about guns - although most residents interviewed said gun ownership is common here.

In Springfield, Schmidt, the Sangamon County state's attorney, in asking for the $20 million bail, told the judge, "This was an extremely violent crime." He said Potts also presents a danger to both the community and himself.

"We've received information from the defendant's mother that he suffers from bipolar disorder and he's currently not on medication," Schmidt said.

Potts stood in a striped jail uniform during the hearing and answered the judge's questions in a quiet voice. He indicated he understood the charges and was not employed. The judge appointed an attorney for him.

Public defender Brian Otwell said he hadn't had time to speak with Potts outside court, but he said mental health would likely be an issue in the case.

"He struck me as being scared," Otwell said. "He's not familiar with the criminal justice system. He's scared and frightened."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Reporter Kevin McDermott
Phone: 217-782-4912

September 23, 2004, 10:40 AM
Sorry, the board is running slowly so I double/triple tapped

September 23, 2004, 10:46 AM
Triple tap, D'oh!

September 23, 2004, 10:53 AM
"Who wants to bet that Daley has armed guards for himself?"

Right on the nose.

Daley has 24/7 Chicago cop security. A special detail has a car with 2 cops in front of and another behind his house. His mother used to have it too. His wife is chaufferred everywhere by Chicago cops too.

Blago has state troopers doing the same for his house in Chicago too.

That way they can both say, "You don't need to carry a gun to be safe. I don't carry a gun and I'm safe." with a straight face here.

I wonder how they'd feel if Blago's wife and two little daughter's had to ride the El every day, like the rest of us proletariat do, without the armed guards? Would she feel safe the first time some character got in her face and said "Do you have a quarter?" or dipped his hand into her purse while she waited for the next train?

Andrew Rothman
September 23, 2004, 01:38 PM
...but only to protect lawmakers, not the public.

State plans changes in security

Published Online September 22, 2004

Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Secretary of State Jesse White are preparing to install metal detectors and making plans to beef up security at the Capitol complex in Springfield in the wake of Monday's fatal shooting of an unarmed guard.
Blagojevich issued an executive order on Tuesday calling for the metal detectors and said he intends to hire a security consultant from the U.S. Capitol to help determine what other changes are needed at the Illinois Capitol.
"We want to bring in their knowledgeable people to consult with us and to make sure what we do here makes sense to first and foremost bring security to the state Capitol complex, but do it in such a way that again is sensitive to the rights of our citizens to have access to their government and walk the halls of their government," Blagojevich said.
A number of armed Secretary of State Police officers have been stationed in and around the Capitol complex since the shooting, and the stepped-up patrols will remain until further notice, said Secretary of State Police Director Brad Demuzio.
Prior to the shooting, the Capitol doors were manned by unarmed guards, and wand-style metal detectors were available but rarely used. No airport-style walk-through metal detectors were ever installed at the doors, and guards did not have bulletproof vests.
That's about to change, White said.
"We are looking forward to putting metal detectors in place, making sure that our guards are trained, that they have guns, that we have cameras in place so that this complex will remain secure," he said.
White and Blagojevich said they hope to use Homeland Security funds to pay for some of the security measures they are considering, but left open the possibility that a special session will be called to ask the General Assembly for additional spending authority.
"There's no need to wait," Blagojevich said. "There's an urgency to get this done."
House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Emil Jones have already pledged their cooperation, White said.
White, who has been calling for metal detectors at the Capitol since before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, said they may not have prevented the tragic death of 51-year-old security guard William Wozniak, but are an important tool nonetheless.
White said body armor might have protected Wozniak from the fatal shot to the chest, but Blagojevich said perhaps only arming the Secretary of State guards would have made a difference.
Wozniak was shot once just inside the North door of the statehouse on Monday afternoon by an apparent stranger who then quickly drove away. Springfield Police arrested 24-year-old Derek W. Potts early Tuesday morning in connection with the incident. He is charged with first-degree murder, burglary, aggravated discharge of a firearm and possession of a gun without a FOID card.
Potts, who has allegedly been linked to a shotgun theft last week at a Springfield military surplus store and an attempted armed robbery at the same store shortly before Monday's Capitol shooting, is being held on $20 million bond and a preliminary hearing has been set for Oct. 7.
Capitol security has been a subject of debate in Illinois and other states for years, particularly since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and security measures vary widely.
States added lots of new security measures immediately after Sept. 11, but many scaled them back after conducting a full evaluation of their security needs, said Kae Warnock, an expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
"They each evaluate it separately to make that decision," she said.
Some factors that states consider include size and demographics of the population in the capital city, cost, and the importance of public access, Warnock said. It takes a lot of money to get enough staff and equipment to allow people to get into the building quickly enough that they don't feel inhibited or somehow barred from the political process, she said. At the same time, states are facing unprecedented budget problems.
"Those are tough calls, there's no way around it," Warnock said.
In Virginia and South Carolina, capitol access is limited to just one public entrance guarded by police officers, and visitors must pass through metal detectors and have their bags X-rayed before they are allowed inside. In contrast, the public has free access to all four sides of the Nebraska Capitol, and there are no metal detectors or armed guards. The West Virgina Capitol complex is watched inside and out by surveillance cameras, but all entry doors are unlocked and without checkpoints during business hours.
Warnock said Florida has some of the tightest Capitol security in the nation, perhaps in part because they have president's brother to protect.
Tom Berliner, chief media spokesman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, said visitors entering the main door of the Capitol or the attached House and Senate office buildings in that state must pass through a metal detector manned by two uniformed, armed, sworn police officers and their bags must go on a conveyor belt to be X-rayed.
If something sets off the metal detectors or otherwise arouses suspicion, police can use handheld metal detectors or call in trained dogs to sniff out drugs, bombs or guns, Berliner said. An array of electronic monitoring devices is also in place, but he said he was not at liberty to discuss them in further detail.
"Our Capitol police force by and large is probably better trained than many of the small police forces in the state, because they are constantly being trained and are prepared for any types of incidents that might happen," Berliner said.
Missouri Capitol Police Chief Todd Hurt said metal detectors are available there, but are only set up and used when there is a specific threat or on special occasions, such as a visit by a presidential candidate, he said. The Missouri Capitol Police are armed and they are issued body armor, but wearing it is left to the officers' discretion under normal circumstances, Hurt said.
Vehicular access to the Capitol has been restricted since the 1994 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, he said.
The Indiana State Police have a special unit to patrol the Capitol complex in that state, and those officers are armed and have been issued body armor to wear if they choose, said Indiana State Police Capt. Pat O'Connor. They are not stationed specifically at entrances, but are constantly patrolling, he said. During normal business hours there are five or six public entrances, but at night and on weekends entry is limited to a single door.
The Minnesota Capitol building has more than 20 entrances, but since Sept. 11, 2001, only four or five doors remain open to the public. The others are restricted through key card devices, said Kevin Smith, spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
The Minnesota Capitol has surveillance cameras, but there are no metal detectors or armed guards at the main doors. Armed state troopers and unarmed Capitol security officers patrol the building and the grounds, but they are not paired up and body armor is optional, according to Smith. Security officers are posted at the doors to the House and Senate when the Legislature is in session, he said.
Commissioned officers who are permitted to carry weapons are common in most state Capitols, Warnock said.
"There are varying levels of security around the country, and certainly there are a number of capitols that are pretty open, but even in the capitols that are fairly open I think they do have capitol police officers keeping an eye on things," she said.

You can reach Kate Clements at (217) 782-2486 or via e-mail at

September 23, 2004, 01:45 PM
see the information from a store employee (who was not on duty at the time) at

Don Gwinn
September 23, 2004, 07:35 PM
see the information from a store employee (who was not on duty at the time) at

Phil is a great guy and a pretty good high-school history teacher to boot. I've been wondering whether he was there that day.

The latest news today is that the Springfield Police Department actually stopped, cuffed and questioned Potts about 40 minutes after the Capitol shooting. They released him for some reason. It's still not clear how much information they had about the shooting at that point, why he was detained, or why he was released.

They weren't going to mention it for awhile, apparently, but an SJ-R reporter had actually photographed Potts cuffed and leaning on a cop car. Apparently he never realized he'd seen the shooter, either, so maybe they were sifting through a lot of guys who matched the description. Only time will really tell.

Here's Phil's account, obviously typed quickly. I've bolded information that's new to me:
First of all, let me say Imiss being here and if I ever get the world off my arse I will return but I am never on line, no time.

NM, and FS your items are coming.

This is how it went down in the gun shop.

Mope steals a shotgun by jumping the counter and running. last week

Mon. he returns demanding a "F*&ING ASSAULT RIFLE". He sees the owner who

gave chase before and fires at him through 2 lawers of glass woth a slug. the slug

is deflected by an iron rod hanging in the windos. the employee and owners son

both hit the ground. the ownerruns for the stockroom as that is the nearest

weapon. he hears footsteps running behind him and slams the doorgrabbs the

shotgun and as the footsteps he assumes is the mope stop and the handlee turns

he fires 3 rounds of 4 buck through the door.

What he did not know is that the mope had fled and his son had got up to see if he

was hit. the son took most of a charge of buck in the left shoulder. the mope then

went to the capitol and shot the guard calmly in the chest with a slug.

I went to the shop yesterday and mopped the blood and picked up glass, a guy

should not have to mop his own sons blood. the employee who was on duty does

not carry like I doI keep thinking if I had been on duty the owners son would not

have been shot and the guard would be alive, themope would be dead, then again

maybe I would be too.

One thing is for certain, Dale stopped a bigger event at the capitol and prevented a

catylist for a new assault weapons banin Illinois. there is even a surge of support

for CCW as even the leftists admit that this person encountered dozens of people

that day and the only one who thwarted his full intent was armed.

I am kinda freaked about the whole situation, Dale is thinking of closingwife wants

me to quit which I wont do because you NEVER abandon a friend.

If you are in Springfield stop in and show your support for Dale at Birds n Brooks

2641 S. 6th St. Springfield, IL

Talk later

Phil Davis

September 23, 2004, 08:25 PM
MkVII, glad to see you got Phil's story posted here. I was going to, but been busy.

Jeff White
September 23, 2004, 08:58 PM
Well now they are saying that Potts had apparently cased the Capitol building a little bit before the shooting. The article also states that he'd been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, hypomania with psychotic features, schizoaffective disorderand bipolar type schizophrenia. He had been in and out of mental institutions for 5 years. So it's unlikely he would have been issued a FOID or been legally able to possess a firearm. I'm at a loss to figure out why all those laws about things like that didn't stop this tragedy. :rolleyes: Could it be that no law can stop crazy and/or evil people from doing whatever they want?
Suspect visited Illinois Capitol before shooting
By Ryan Keith
Associated Press

PETERSBURG, Ill. (AP) -- The 24-year-old man charged with murdering an unarmed Statehouse security guard visited the building for about 15 minutes about three hours before the shooting, one of the victim's fellow guards said Thursday.

Craig Glossop said he saw suspect Derek W. Potts enter the Capitol about 10:30 Monday morning and wander around the first floor of the building.

"He looked like any other tourist," Glossop said outside the funeral for fellow guard William Wozniak. He said he saw nothing erratic in Potts behavior at the time.

Potts is accused of returning to the building about 1:30 p.m. and firing a single shotgun blast into the chest of Wozniak, the security guard watching the building's front entrance. Wozniak, 51, died soon afterward.

According to the charges against Potts, his first visit to the Statehouse was followed by an attempt to steal a gun from a local military surplus store. Police say he fled the store, then went to the Capitol and shot Wozniak.

Springfield police acknowledge they apprehended Potts about 40 minutes after the shooting but let him go. It took authorities another 17 hours to arrest Potts, after he had traveled around town, visited two restaurants, changed clothes and spent the night at an unknown location.

Police refused Thursday to explain why they let Potts go, whether they searched a bag he had with him, or what he told them.

At the time, however, Potts apparently did not have the murder weapon or the silver, two-door foreign car linked to him. In addition, reports in the first hours of the manhunt described the gunman as having blonde hair. Potts has brown hair.

Deputy Police Chief Jim Burton said police administrators were investigating whether any procedures were violated in Potts' capture and release Monday.

Potts, a recent college dropout, was arrested early Tuesday as he knocked on doors in a residential neighborhood. He was charged with first-degree murder, burglary and gun violations and ordered held on $20 million bond.

Potts had been in and out of mental institutions five times, his mother, Jane Potts, told the Chicago Tribune.

"At times he would hear voices and there were times he did not," wrote Potts, who declined to discuss the case but agreed to write a letter about her son's medical history. "There were times the medication worked and other times it did not."

Authorities have said they know of no motive for the shooting. The governor was not in Springfield at the time, and the Legislature was not in session.

Potts' court-appointed attorney, Brian Otwell, said Wednesday that mental illness would likely factor in the case.

In her letter Wednesday, Jane Potts said her son has been diagnosed with "bipolar disorder, hypomania with psychotic features, schizoaffective disorder and bipolar type schizophrenia," according to the Tribune.

She also expressed sympathy for the Wozniak family.

"We are filled with sorrow for all the suffering this horrible situation has caused for so many," she said.

Thursday morning, Gov. Rod Blagojevich and more than 300 people filled the First Baptist Church in Petersburg, about 20 miles northwest of Springfield, for Wozniak's funeral. Friends remembered him as a family man who loved his two teenage children and enjoyed jokes and tinkering on projects around the house.

A memorial service for Wozniak was scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday in the Capitol Rotunda. A guest book will be available in the rotunda from 9 a.m. to noon, according to the Illinois secretary of states office.

Jeff White
September 25, 2004, 06:44 PM

Illinois Capitol attack has Missouri officials reassessing
By Kevin McDermott
Post-Dispatch Springfield Bureau

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Following the terrorist attack on New York City three years ago, St. Louis officials installed additional security at City Hall that appeared to take into account every contingency: Metal detectors were set up, cars were prevented from parking in front of the building and additional armed guards were posted.

Only now, after last week's shooting death of an Illinois Capitol guard, are St. Louis officials realizing there's one scenario they're not ready for: a lone gunman simply walking up to the building and shooting the first person he sees.

"We're looking at (the Springfield shooting) because of the unique nature of it, a guy walking up to the building like that. Even if you'd had the (metal detectors), I don't think you could have stopped it," said St. Louis City Marshal Ron Hill, who is in charge of City Hall security. "We're recognizing a blind spot in our system" in light of the shooting, he said.

Hill and other officials who are charged with protecting public venues in Illinois and Missouri are reviewing the Springfield shooting with an eye toward plugging one hole that appears to be common in public building security systems. Most of those systems are designed to prevent armed people from gaining entry to official buildings, and - since 9/11 - preventing external attacks on the buildings themselves, as with a car bomb.

What few, if any, of the plans take into account is the possibility of an attacker who isn't trying to get in and isn't trying to blow the place up, but is merely out to kill someone - anyone - who works in an official capacity.

While nothing is yet known about the motives of Derek W. Potts, the suspect in the Springfield Capitol slaying, most officials now believe he wasn't personally targeting unarmed Capitol guard William Wozniak.

Wozniak, an 18-year veteran of the Statehouse security staff and a father of two, died of a single shotgun blast to the chest after his assailant walked up the Capitol steps, partly entered the glass doors to the building, fired and fled.

Prosecutors and family members have since said that Potts, 24, a college dropout from the southeast Illinois town of Olney, suffers from schizophrenia and other mental disorders and was off his medication at the time of the shooting.

For official Springfield, Wozniak's death will likely be the tragic final word in a debate that has been going on since Sept. 11, 2001, about the proper balance between security of public places and open access to government.

In the past, the Legislature has resisted calls for tighter security, citing a philosophy of public, open government. But with leaders, including Gov. Rod Blagojevich, now backing stricter security in the wake of Wozniak's death, there appears to be little doubt that metal detectors and gun-carrying guards will become permanent fixtures alongside the century-old limestone pillars and burnished marble under the silver dome of the Capitol.

"It's supposed to be the 'people's building.' ... There's always been a debate about the issue of safety in this building versus not wanting it to look like an armed camp," said Randy Nehrt, spokesman for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, whose office is in charge of Capitol security.

Since the shooting, White's staff has been compiling a new security proposal to the Legislature that will likely include metal detectors, armed guards, bulletproof vests and cameras in the entryways to the Capitol.

"We believe there will be more (legislative) support for these items now than in the past," Nehrt said.

In Springfield, as at St. Louis City Hall, the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City and other public facilities around the country, the 2001 attacks brought a wave of tighter (though often temporary) security measures.

In Springfield, most of the added security had long since fallen away by last week, including the one measure that, it seems, would have had the best chance of saving Wozniak's life: A prohibition on unidentified cars pulling up to the steps of the Capitol and parking there. That restriction was put back in place after Monday's shooting.

In Jefferson City, the wave of post-9/11 security was even tighter, and its eventual drop-off sharper. The Missouri Capitol installed metal detectors and entryway guards at the Capitol, the Truman State Office Building and the State Health Lab after Sept. 11, 2001. The measures were reversed, and the metal detectors pulled out, in July 2003, after legislators cut the $590,000 price tag from the state budget.

"I'm not losing any sleep over it," Jeff Davis, then-chief of staff to Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder, R-Cape Girardeau, told the Post-Dispatch at the time. "If the terrorists have a list of targets, I think the state Capitol in Jefferson City is pretty low on their list."

Last week, Kinder said the Springfield shooting could prompt officials in Jefferson City to reconsider the dangers out there aside from terrorism.

"There's always the random crazy, which I guess is what happened there," Kinder said Friday. "We'll probably take another look at (security) based on what happened in Springfield."

However, there were no immediate plans to change the security perimeter at the Missouri Capitol. Sgt. Stacy Skiles, spokeswoman for the Missouri Capitol Police, noted that officers there are armed, unlike the guards who watched the Illinois State Capitol until Monday. Guards carrying sidearms have been posted in the Illinois Capitol since the shooting. Skiles said Missouri guards already patrol a perimeter around the Capitol.

"Obviously, we're interested in what's happening in Springfield, we're observing what's going on," said Skiles. "But I think our environment here is quite a bit different."

Hill, the St. Louis city marshal, said he also is reviewing the Springfield shooting, and is especially concerned about the "blind spot" it highlights in St. Louis City Hall security: the possibility of a lone pedestrian with a hidden gun causing harm before he or she reaches the metal-detector perimeter. Hill said he doesn't know yet what the answer is, but that one possibility would be an exterior perimeter with guards stopping and checking people walking toward the building.

"We can see people approaching, but we don't know what's under their coat until they get here," Hill said. "Maybe we need to put somebody out there with a (metal-detecting) wand."

Reporter Kevin McDermott
Phone: 217-782-4912

Jeff White
September 25, 2004, 07:09 PM
Body Armor shouldn't be an option in a high profile assignment like that. It seems that the leadership at the statehouse lives in condition white.

White defends optional use of body armor
The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - As hundreds of people mourned the death of a security guard at the Capitol, Secretary of State Jesse White defended his office's decision not to require the guards to wear bulletproof vests.

The office has 10 bulletproof vests available, and White acknowledged that wearing one could have saved the unarmed guard's life. But he said Friday that there was no reason before the shooting to require the guards to wear them.

"The vests have to be fitted for them to be worn, and whenever there was a spirit of unrest, when they felt that their life was in danger, they could use them," White said in an interview after a memorial service for William Wozniak, 51.

Wozniak, one of about 80 Capitol guards, had little if any warning Monday when a gunman walked through the main entrance and fired a shotgun blast into his chest, killing him. The man now charged in the killing had been in the Capitol earlier that morning but gave no sign of being a threat, fellow guard Craig Glossop said.

Derek W. Potts, 24, a recent college dropout whose family says suffers from mental illness, was arrested the following morning and charged with murder, burglary and gun violations.

Prosecutors are reviewing whether to seek the death penalty.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Friday that he had not considered whether to lift the state's freeze on executions because of the shooting. He said he generally supported the death penalty in cases where police officers are killed, but he indicated he wants more time for new reforms to the criminal justice system to take effect before he lifts the freeze.

"You've got to make sure the system is foolproof," he said.

Blagojevich and White both spoke about Wozniak during a memorial service in the Capitol rotunda Friday attended by more than 300 lawmakers, state workers, family and friends.

"Bill did his job well and he did it cheerfully," Blagojevich said. "When I walked in the building and saw Bill, he was always friendly, always cheerful and always accommodating."

Blagojevich and White promised to move quickly on improving Capitol security, such as installing metal detectors and security cameras and giving security guards guns and vests.

Jeff White
September 30, 2004, 09:31 PM
Obviously the convenience of the legislators outweighs any other consideration:
State officials were warned about Capitol driveway 5 years ago


SPRINGFIELD, Ill.- State officials were warned about security risks posed by the Capitol's driveway five years before a man used it to drive up to the building and fatally shoot a guard, according to published reports.

A security consultant identified the driveway as a serious security risk in 1999 and recommended that the state build a guard station at the driveway's entry point from the street, the Chicago Sun-Times reported in its Sunday editions.

Derek L. Potts, 24, is accused of driving his car up to the main entrance of the Capitol on Sept. 20, marching into the building and fatally shooting unarmed security guard William Wozniak. Potts has been charged with first-degree murder, burglary and gun violations. His family says he suffers from mental illness.

The 1999 report that Consultant Arcon Associates laid out for Gov. George Ryan's administration has some state officials questioning whether Wozniak's death could have been averted.

The report did not address the threat of a gunman, but it said the Capitol was susceptible to potential car bomb attacks on its north and south driveways because of how easily vehicles can reach the building.

"Because of the many entrances and exits and the large number of people needing access to the building, especially during the legislative session, there are a wide range of opportunities for safety and security problems to occur," according to the report, a copy of which was obtained by the Sun-Times.

State officials decided not to make the driveway more secure for several reasons, including money and concerns about traffic congestion. Lawmakers also did not want to see the state Capitol turned into a bunker, the newspaper reported.

Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, said he believes that posting an armed guard in a guard shack at the driveway's entry point could have stopped the shooter from reaching the Capitol, which is about 150 yards away.

"Had a guard station been there, the person might have thought twice about attempting to do it," Trotter said.

There had been a guard shack at that location a few months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but legislators complained about traffic congestion along the driveway and it was removed.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Secretary of State Jesse White, whose office oversees security at the Capitol, have been discussing how to improve building security. Among the proposals is a new guard shack, adding up to 90 armed guards on White's payroll, installing metal detectors and giving guards bulletproof vests.

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