AP cites Winnebago County coroner on Barmore case
• Fatal shots to ‘neck and back’
By Joe McGehee
According to an Associated Press story from Sunday, Sept. 20, Winnebago County Coroner Sue Fiduccia announced that Mark Barmore died from a “gunshot wound to the neck and several to the back” at the House of Grace Daycare and Preschool on Aug. 24.
“Preliminary results show a gunshot wound to the neck and three to the back. Further results are still pending, as we are waiting for the final autopsy results to come in,” said Sue Fiduccia, Winnebago County coroner.
When Mark Barmore, 23, was fatally shot by two Rockford police officers, the racial divide in Rockford grew wider and more visible almost instantly. Eye-witness accounts conflicted with the Rockford Police Department’s public description of what transpired in the basement of the Kingdom Authority Church in front of the daycare owner, her teenage daughter and an undetermined number of children.
The rain-soaked days that followed witnessed a police press conference where Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson referred to the officers’ accounts of the shooting as “facts,” a contentious City Hall meeting where residents sought answers and found none, and a protest march down State Street by more than 300 concerned citizens with stops at City Hall and the Public Safety building.
This incident has put an ever-increasing focus on Rockford’s race relations problems and the opportunities available to African-Americans in the Rock River Valley. Rockford’s state-high unemployment rate has hit the African-American community harder than the white community in the last two years.
According to the most recent state statistics, Rockford’s white citizens had an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent in 2008, as opposed to the African-American citizens seeing that rate more than double to 12.1 percent in 2008.
Statistics recently released by the state of Illinois also point to the average income of white households being nearly $42,000, while African-American households earn $23,000.
It also seems that the trying month Barmore’s family has faced since his death shows no signs of relenting, either, as Mary Ann Barmore’s home was vandalized on Sunday, Sept. 20.
She awoke to find her home littered with painted swastikas, racial slurs and crude language, as well as finding her car’s rear-view mirror had been knocked off.
Two additional vehicles in Barmore’s neighborhood were also vandalized, according to the Rockford Register Star.
From the September 23-29, 2009 issue
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