ROCK FALLS – The owners of a downtown bar where an out-of-state relative apparently shot four men said Wednesday that they are “heartbroken” and have no idea what prompted the violence.
Seth T. Wallace, 32, of Dillon, South Carolina, is in Dillon County Jail on $1 million bond, charged with four counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, each of which carry 6 to 30 years in prison, Rock Falls Police Chief Tammy Nelson said in a news conference Wednesday morning at City Hall. Extradition could take several weeks, she said.
A tip from a relative in South Carolina lead police to Wallace, a second cousin to Kendra Sotelo, who owns The Cooler with her husband, Rene.
After getting the tip Monday night that Wallace was the shooter, a warrant for his arrest was issued Tuesday, but he turned himself in that day, Nelson said.
Ballistics tests are being done on a handgun found at his home, she said. Surveillance video shows the gunman entering the bar carrying a handgun in his right hand
Police still are trying to determine a motive, and how Wallace got back and forth from South Carolina, Nelson said.
At the news conference, Rene Sotelo said the last time he and Kendra saw Wallace was in December, when Wallace was in Rockford Memorial Hospital following a vehicle crash in Stephenson County, where he has relatives in Freeport.
Wallace was found guilty of failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident in that incident.
Dillon County Court records show that he and his wife, Tiffany Wallace, divorced in February.
Other than that, he has only traffic tickets in that county. A search of online court records turned up no other criminal history in the Sauk Valley.
At first, the Sotelos didn’t recognize Wallace from the blurry security footage police released, but once police asked him if it was Wallace, he could see it right away, Rene said.
“We’re heartbroken and we don’t understand it,” he said, apologizing to their patrons and the community.
Kendra said after the conference that she knows nothing about Wallace’s personal life.
He is the grandson of Robert and Audrey Last of Freeport and the son of Corrine (Last) Wallace and Thomas Wallace, formerly of Freeport, now of Little Rock, South Carolina.
The Sotelos plan to install additional security cameras at the front and back entrances of the bar at 311 W. Second St. by next week, Rene said.
According to police, the shooter walked into The Cooler around 9:30 p.m. Saturday, cursed, and opened fire, shooting the four men at random before fleeing in a blue pickup.
Steven T. Addington, 52, of Deer Grove, and Tom Parvin, also 52, of Sterling, a bouncer at the bar, still are at CGH Medical Center, possibly facing surgeries, Nelson said. They have been listed in good condition since the day after the shooting.
Trent Shepard, 26, of Rock Falls, was released from Mercy Health Hospital in Rockford Tuesday; he was treated for a gunshot wounds to the hand and neck, the latter of which broke his collarbone.
Mason Preston, 29, of Sterling, also a bouncer, was shot in the back. The bullet exited his side, and he was treated and released from CGH that night.
The bar was closed Sunday and Monday, and reopened Tuesday.