Man sentenced to more than 27 years for shooting Carbondale cop - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Man sentenced to more than 27 years for shooting Carbondale cop

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MURPHYSBORO, Ill. -- Carbondale police officer Trey Harris lost an eye after Alex Karcher shot him during a pursuit in July 2016.

Friday, a judge sentenced Karcher to 27.5 years in prison.

Karcher is one of five people charged in a drug conspiracy that eventually led to the shooting of Harris.

Karcher is the last one to be sentenced.

Jackson County State's Attorney Mike Carr said the events leading up to the shooting started with a drug deal gone bad. The men in the drug ring didn't receive money for 15 pounds of marijuana they sold to someone, so Carr said Karcher came to Carbondale to collect.

There were two instances of shots fired in a Carbondale neighborhood over the span of three days, including one the night Harris was shot.

"This wasn't just about the shooting of Officer Harris, which is obviously a horrendous act in and of itself. He's lost an eye, lost a career," Carr said.

He said the sentence is also about protecting the community.

"The original shots were in a neighborhood where people lived, where kids lived," Carr said.

Harris and his partner, officer Corey Brinkley, chased after a vehicle with Karcher inside after hearing gunshots the night of July 31, 2016.

Carr said Karcher fired a high-powered rifle at the squad car, hitting Harris in the eye -- an eye he eventually lost.

"We're grateful to both of those (officers) for what they've done to our community, making it safer," Carr said.

In a statement, Carbondale Police Chief Jeff Grubbs said he hopes the sentence deters other acts of violence, especially violence against officers.

"Officer Trey Harris and Officer Corey Brinkley put themselves in harm's way that night to protect members of our community.  If not for their actions, others would likely have been injured," Grubbs said. "They are truly heroes and my prayers continue to go out to these officers and their families."

Harris' mother, Kathleen Harris, gave a victim impact statement in court, fighting through tears as she described the aftermath of the shooting.  

"I wanted to pass out," Harris said. "I wanted to melt into the floor to remove myself from this reality."
 
She also said Harris' recovery is a testament to how strong a person he is, but it's still something the family struggles with every day.

Harris wasn't in court Friday and before he was sentenced, Karcher told the court he wished Harris was there so he could apologize to his face.

"I may never feel Trey Harris' pain, but I'm very sorry," Karcher said. "And I hope he can forgive me."

Karcher also fought back tears as he vowed to better himself every day he's in prison.

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