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Moline police identify ‘persons of interest’ in the 2018 shooting death of Corey Harrell Jr.

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 10:52 AM CDT
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MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - The Moline Police Department on Wednesday released the names of three persons of interest in the 2018 shooting death of 22-year-old Corey Harrell.

They are: Alonzo R. Cole, 23, Thomas E. Elijah-Hughes, 21, Preston R. Orr, 25. None of the men have been charged in Harrell’s death, Chief Darren Gault said during a press conference.

Cole and Elijah-Hughes are currently in federal prison on unrelated charges. Police said Orr is not in custody.

The latest development in the case comes nearly three years since Harrell was shot while driving in downtown Moline.

“Over the last three years, the MPD has been investigating this homicide and our investigators have pursued dozens and dozens of tips and leads and our investigators are confident that the people we are pursuing info on as persons of interest either have direct involvement or significant information—or their affiliates have significant info about this case,” Chief Darren Gault said in an exclusive interview with TV6 Investigates Darby Sparks.

Gault said police believe the shooting was not random and that there were connections between two groups of individuals that had developed into a feud.”

Moline officers responded around 10:09 a.m. Oct. 31, 2018, to 16th Street and 7th Avenue for a report of gunfire.

Officers inside the police department, which is across the street from City Hall, also heard multiple gunshots.

Police say Harrell was driving his silver minivan when shots rang out from a black newer model SUV in the 2100 block of River Drive.

The Moline Police Department has released a photo of a vehicle believed to be involved in the...
The Moline Police Department has released a photo of a vehicle believed to be involved in the 2018 shooting death of Corey Harrell.(KWQC/Moline Police Department)

The shooting continued until Harrell was fatally wounded in the 1500 block of 7th Avenue, police have said. The SUV was last seen going westbound on River Drive.

Harrell’s van stopped in the parking lot at City Hall. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Harrell was the only person inside the van.

“This happened at 10 during the middle of a workday and some of those people were construction workers, or citizens going to work or to lunch or about their day,” Gault said. “We’re really looking for those people to come forward with any info they have seen.”

“We’re fairly confident people know more info about the vehicle was used and we need those people to come forward.

Crime Stoppers of the Quad Cities is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in Harrell’s death.

Police ask anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers of the Quad Cities at 309-762-9500 or the Moline Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at 309-524-2140.

Court documents show Cole and Elijah Hughes were charged in Rock Island County with armed violence and delivery of marijuana in an unrelated case in May 2020.

The charges were dismissed after a federal grand jury indicted them in connection with the same incident in July 2020.

According to a document filed in Cole’s case:

A confidential source arranged to buy a pound of marijuana from Orr on May 12, 2020, at the Wellington Apartments in Moline.

Officers were at the apartments when Hughes drove into an alley near the apartments. Cole was in the passenger seat.

Officers tried to barricade the car in the alley, but Hughes threw the vehicle into reverse, striking a police car. Hughes was arrested and taken into custody without issue.

Cole fled from the car on foot, discarding a Glock 9mm firearm and $6,520 in cash. He was arrested by police after losing his footing during a foot chase. He had a small amount of marijuana, $661 in cash, and two cell phones on him when he was arrested.

In the car, officers found three heat-sealed bags of marijuana containing approximately 4.5 pounds of marijuana, a 9mm pistol on the driver’s side floorboard, baggies, two scales, and two pills of Oxycodone.

Cole pleaded guilty in February to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and felon in possession of a firearm.

He was sentenced in June to 91 months - or more than 7 1/2 years - in prison.

Hughes pleaded guilty in November to possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking and was sentenced in March to 60 months - or five years - prison.

Orr was not charged in the incident.

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