JOLIET, Ill. — A small-town police officer arrested in a shooting spree along the Illinois-Indiana border is no longer a suspect after investigators determined he couldn't have committed the crime that left one dead and two wounded, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Brian Dorian, 37, was being released Tuesday and a court appearance was scheduled for Wednesday, when Will County authorities said they would formally drop the first-degree murder charge against him.
Will County States Attorney James Glasgow said authorities had uncovered "forensic computer evidence" that showed Dorian was at his house when one of the shootings happened.
"It would have been physically impossible for Brian Dorian to have committed this crime," Glasgow said. "This was a tragic situation."
Dorian is an officer with the Lynwood Police Department, 30 miles south of Chicago, not far from where the shootings took place. He was arrested Friday at his home in Crete after a search for a someone who allegedly asked his victims about honeybees or construction material before pulling a gun.
Dorian had appeared in court via video link from jail earlier Tuesday and his attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. David Carlson, Dorian's attorney, told WGN-TV his client was relieved he had been cleared but that "he is concerned that someone is still out there who killed someone."
Chuck Pelkie, spokesman for Glasgow's office, said prosecutors had other leads. He also defended prosecutors' handling of the case, saying they had a positive identification from a witness and that Dorian's vehicle matched the gunman's.
"There isn't another law enforcement agency in the country that wouldn't have made the arrest. That is a plain and simple fact," he said.
But Dorian's father, John, 71, lashed out at Glasgow and questioned the handling of the investigation.
"They ought to prosecute (Glasgow) and put him behind bars," said Dorian, reached by telephone at his home. "How can you arrest somebody for nothing? To be a policeman, to be innocent and then be behind bars?"
Dorian noted the real gunman must still be free and roaming around the area.
"The shooter is out there. I said that from the first day," Dorian said. "Maybe he's living out of his pickup, maybe he lost his home, lost his farm, and because of the situation, he went over the edge."
In Dorian's neighborhood in Crete, friends drove up and down streets honking horns in celebration.
"I'm just elated," said Robin Schmitz, 38, who has known Dorian for about 10 years and lives next door to him. "I can't wait to see him and give him a hug, and tell him that I never believed it."
More than 30 supporters – relatives, friends and fellow police officers – had filled the courtroom benches at the hearing earlier in the day. Some wore "Free Brian" T-shirts while others wore shirts with the logo for the Boston Red Sox, Dorian's favorite team. Several wept as Dorian appeared on a monitor.
The first shooting occurred about 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 5 at a work site in Illinois. Pelkie said evidence showed Dorian had been on his computer that day until at least 11 a.m.
Ballistics from the gun in both shootings matched, meaning Dorian could not have been involved in the second one either, Pelkie said.
One victim, Rolando Alonso, 45, of Hammond, Ind., was shot fatally in the head while working for a construction company near Beecher, Ill. Another worker, Joshua Garza, 19, of Dyer, Ind., was wounded. A third worker escaped into a cornfield.
Later that day, a farmer, Keith Dahl, 64, was wounded near Lowell, Ind.
Kristina Garza, Joshua Garza's aunt, said she also was taken aback by the prosecutors' reversal and called for someone else to step in and look at the evidence.
"This isn't unheard, but it is very unusual," said Garza, an attorney. "Someone needs to take the reins and dig deeper."
She said her nephew, while still incapacitated by his wounds, including a gunshot to the head, was improving and may soon be able to help ID a suspect.