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Merchant, Vaughn, Gates  

Three people are facing charges in a fatal weekend shooting, Alton police said Tuesday.

At about 12:43 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 11, several Alton police officers were patrolling the downtown area when they heard the sound of a gunshot coming from the area of West Fourth and State streets. As officers began responding to that area, the Alton Police Department started receiving 9-1-1 calls reporting the gunshot as well.

Within moments, two Alton police officers arrived on scene and found that an adult male had sustained a gunshot wound while in the 300 block of State Street. Alton Fire Department paramedics were immediately summoned to the scene, while officers and a bystander began providing life-saving measures to the gunshot victim. The victim, later identified as Terence L. Hicks, 34, was transported to an Alton hospital and was later pronounced dead.

Additional officers arrived on scene and began attempting to gather information from potential witnesses. Officers were provided information related to this investigation while detectives with the Alton Police Department Criminal Investigations Division were also summoned to the scene.

Over the course of several days since this tragic event happened, several Alton police officers and detectives worked jointly with the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office Violent Crimes Unit to investigate the events that led up to and including what happened at the time of the shooting.

Based on the investigation, on Tuesday the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office charged multiple individuals with felony offenses related to their involvement in this investigation.

Charleton K. Merchant, 27, of Alton, was charged with four counts first-degree murder, mob action aggravated battery and unlawful possession of a weapons by a felon.

Merchant’s bond has been set at no bond by Judge Richard Tognarelli.

Aareon Vaughn, 27, of Alton, was charged with two counts first-degree murder, mob action and aggravated battery. Tognarelli set Vaughn’s bond at no bond.

Terrea D. Gates, 30, of Alton, was charged with obstructing justice. Gates’ bond has been set at $20,000.

All subjects that have been formally charged are in custody at the Alton Police Department.

“We want to share that this was not a random act of violence and the people involved in this incident were familiar to each other,” Police Chief Marcos Pulido said in a release.

These charges, as well as the statements made herein, are based upon probable cause. All defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty.

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