Digital Access

Digital Access
Access from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, Daily including the e-Edition or e-Edition only.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more. Text alerts are a free service from, but text rates may apply.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.
The Holiday Gift Auction is Live! Click here and bid now on great local gifts!

Detective: Suspected shooter defending his family’s honor

35-year-old set to be arraigned Wednesday

Octavius L. Zackery
Octavius L. Zackery

STERLING – A Sterling man admitted shooting another man to teach him a lesson: Leave my family alone, a police detective testified Thursday.

Octavius L. Zackery told police he was afraid he’d killed the man, so he fled to Chicago and threw the gun in Lake Michigan, Detective Mike Henry testified at a preliminary hearing.

Whiteside County Associate Judge Bill McNeal ruled that the evidence justified a trial, and Zackery, 35, will be arraigned Wednesday. He is charged with aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm, aggravated unlawful use of weapons, and possession of a firearm without a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card.

He is in Whiteside County Jail on $500,000 bond.

According to Henry’s testimony:

About 9:30 p.m. Nov. 17, police received a report of a shooting at Fifth Street and Sixth Avenue. A 29-year-old had been shot in the hip and a 9 mm bullet casing was found in the street.

The man was taken to CGH Medical Center, but would not show police his wound or cooperate with the investigation. A day or two later, he told police he had gone to buy marijuana from a family member of Zackery’s who lived nearby.

He was told to leave, argued with Zackery and as he started walking home, Zackery followed him with a gun.

A neighbor told police she heard a commotion and when she looked out her window she saw two black men in the street and a “yellowish-orange” flash, presumably from a gun.

Zackery’s family told police that he was angry with the man for bothering his family. After following the man outside, Zackery went back to the apartment looking nervous and said he had to leave.

He was arrested Nov. 28 at a relative’s house in Chicago.

Zackery seemed “relieved” when police told him the victim was alive.

Zackery said he was scared because the man was bigger, but he wanted to teach him a lesson.

His attorney, Whiteside County Public Defender Jim Heuerman, asked Henry how the man had been bothering Zackery’s family.

Henry testified that he was told the man had called one family member “ugly” and he had asked for money. Henry was not aware of any incidents regarding the man and Zackery’s family that had been previously reported to police.

Loading more