Suspects allegedly involved in shooting of Carbondale police officer appear in court

New details connect KS arrests to investigation of Carbondale, IL officer shooting
Published: Aug. 8, 2016 at 9:10 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2016 at 4:20 PM CDT
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Alex Karcher (Source: Saline County, KS Sheriff's Department)
Alex Karcher (Source: Saline County, KS Sheriff's Department)
Xavier McCray (Source: Saline County, KS Sheriff's Department)
Xavier McCray (Source: Saline County, KS Sheriff's Department)
Xavier Lewis (Source: Saline County, KS Sheriff's Department)
Xavier Lewis (Source: Saline County, KS Sheriff's Department)
Officer Trey Harris has been employed by the Department for three years and three months....
Officer Trey Harris has been employed by the Department for three years and three months. (Source: Carbondale PD)

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - The three suspects who have been charged in connection to an investigation of the shooting of a Carbondale police officer made their first appearance in court on Wednesday, August 15.

Xavier McCray is facing drug-related charges, distribution, possession of stolen property, criminal possession of a weapon by a felon, driving while suspended, interference with law enforcement and identity theft. Those charges are out of Saline County from February of  this year. 
No preliminary date has been set on the new charges he faces. McCray will meet again on Thursday, August 18.

Alex Karcher's court date is set for August 29 at 9 a.m. A preliminary hearing will be held that day. Karcher's family showed up with representation on Monday.

Xavier Lewis retained his own attorney and the judge gave him until August 29 to show up to court with representation. He is due back in court on August 29 at 9 a.m.

A Kansas prosecutor says three men facing conspiracy to commit capital murder charges in Kansas were arrested for allegedly traveling to southern Illinois in a plot to kill three men.

Ellen Mitchell, the prosecutor in Saline County, Kansas, said Carbondale Police Officer Trey Harris is not the victim in its case against the three suspects.

During the evening hours of August 7, and early morning hours of August 8, the I-135/I-70 Drug Task Force; Saline County, Kan. Sheriff's Office; Salina, Kan. Police Department; McPherson, Kan. Police Department; Saline County, Kan. Attorney's Office; and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation arrested three suspects in Saline County, Kan. for conspiracy to commit capital murder.

The suspects are accused of plotting to kill three other men.

The suspects were identified as 22-year-old Alex Karcher, 22-year-old Xavier McCray and 24-year-old Xavier Lewis.

All three subjects, who are Kansas residents, were booked into the Saline County, Kan. Jail with a $1,000,000 bond.

The task force investigation team, led by the Illinois State Police, with assistance from the City of Carbondale Police Department and numerous local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, is continuing a comprehensive investigation and is cooperating with the ongoing investigation in Kansas.

The City of Carbondale is offering a $15,000 reward for information which leads to the identity, arrest and conviction of the suspect or suspects in this incident.

Investigators believe the shooting involving Carbondale Police officer Trey Harris stemmed from a larger criminal operation.

"It's more than just the shooting investigation. They're tying it into a much larger criminal investigation," said Carbondale Sgt. Amber Ronketto on Monday, one week after the investigation began. "I believe there are more people involved in the initial criminal activity than were involved in the shooting of officer Harris."

Carbondale police Chief Jeff Grubbs said officer Harris was investigating reports of shots fired on the city's northeastern side on Sunday, July 31 when a car chase began with at least two suspects in a tan Pontiac Grand Prix.

During the chase, Harris was shot through his cruiser's windshield and was later airlifted to a St. Louis hospital.

Harris has been released from the hospital and is recovering with family, but the investigation has continued in force.

"We still have investigators on the task force working around the clock, at times in the same numbers we saw right after this happened last week," Ronketto said. "The involvement and leadership of Illinois State Police agents has allowed our own personnel to return to day-to-day work."

Much of the time over the past week has been spent interviewing individuals for more information related to the larger investigation.

Ronketto said she was not at liberty to clarify the nature of that larger investigation, more details on its scope, and said the city is still withholding names and descriptions of suspects.

"We don't want to jeopardize anything," Ronketto said. "We don't want the people that we are looking for to know that we are onto them, and we don't want anyone to go into hiding whom we haven't located and communicated with yet."

Despite that, Ronketto said the trail is hot.

"There's probably going to be arrests pretty soon," Ronketto stated. "This is not an investigation that is going nowhere. We have been working on this 24 hours for seven days now… so I believe we are close."

After being set at $10,000 last week, Ronketto said the reward for information leading to a resolution in the case is now a total of $16,000.

That includes $15,000 from the city and $1,000 from Crimestoppers.

Ronketto said there is no donation figure as of Monday, but donations are still being made by the public on a daily basis.

Click here to learn how to donate to Officer Harris and click here to learn more about Crimestoppers.

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