You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

22-year-old fatal shooting victim ID’d

Northeastern graduate shot in Springfield home. Call says shooting was an accident.

A Northeastern High School graduate died after a shooting that a 911 caller said was an accident, but officers investigating the incident could need weeks to complete their work, Springfield’s police chief said Tuesday.

Eric M. Wheeler, 22, died Monday afternoon from injuries sustained when he was shot in the abdomen at a southeast Springfield house.

No charges have been filed, according to the Springfield Police Division.

Authorities were alerted to the shooting at 3:29 p.m. at 932 Barker Drive, about one mile from the Burnett Plaza Shopping Center.

Police Chief Steve Moody said investigators are evaluating forensic evidence and will speak with a forensic pathologist once the autopsy is completed. They’ll also examine toxicology reports once they’re available, Moody said.

Moody said investigators also will discuss the case with Clark County Prosecutor Andy Wilson and, if felony charges are warranted, it will likely go to the grand jury.

“There’s a lot to do, a lot to evaluate,” Moody said. “We want to make sure that we’ve got all the forensic facts right before we proceed. We’ll do that after consultation with the county prosecutor’s office.”

The investigation could take weeks to complete, Moody said.

According to the 9-1-1 call, the weapon involved was a 9mm pistol. Wheeler was shot in the stomach by accident, according to the female caller. The caller also stated they were “screwing around” with the gun.

A voice can also be heard in the background saying “I shot him.” The recording was approximately 7 minutes long.

Wheeler was transported to Springfield Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

A 28-year-old man who lives at the residence where the shooting occurred was questioned by police. A blood sample was taken as part of the investigation, according to police.

Investigators obtained search warrants after the family of the man being questioned refused to allow police search the house, Moody said.

A pistol was seized along with other items taken in the search, police said. The man later asked for counsel, and officers stopped talking with him at that point, Moody said.

Wheeler, a 2011 Northeastern graduate, played four years on the football team, according to Jets coach Scott Rolf.

Rolf called Wheeler “one of the most positive kids you could ever have on a team.” He played on both the offensive and defensive lines. Rolf said Wheeler once came to visit him after he had surgery during the season.

“He just always had a smile,” Rolf said. “He cared a lot about other people. … He’ll leave a huge hole, not just in my heart, but with the kids who played with him, our program and the entire community.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

Clerk can’t read robber’s note because of messy handwriting, police say 
Clerk can’t read robber’s note because of messy handwriting, police say 

A robbery suspect’s handwriting was so undecipherable that a store clerk handed the demand note back to the man Thursday and asked him to read it, police said. Dion Taylor walked into a Family Dollar around 7:30 p.m. and handed the clerk the note, according to WKBN. The clerk handed it back to Taylor when he could not understand what was...
Bill Clinton tweets about ‘bugged’ Clinton Center, pokes fun at Trump
Bill Clinton tweets about ‘bugged’ Clinton Center, pokes fun at Trump

  Former President Bill Clinton took a jab at President Donald Trump on Sunday with a Twitter photo of himself next to a giant bug sculpture outside the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas. “BREAKING: We just learned that the @ClintonCenter has been bugged,” Clinton tweeted with the photo. Clinton...
Premier, UnitedHealthcare negotiations continue over health plans
Premier, UnitedHealthcare negotiations continue over health plans

Contract talks between the region’s largest health system and insurer United Health Care remain at an impasse as a deadline approaches that could jeopardize the health plans of up to 70,000 local residents. Premier Health and UnitedHealthcare, one of the largest group health insurers in the area, have been at an impasse in talks to renew their...
Clark County Common Pleas Court cases
Clark County Common Pleas Court cases

COMMON PLEAS COURT NEW SUITS 17-DS-0351 - Shamir Cooper, Fairborn, and James Cooper, 1211 S. Wittenberg Ave., petition for dissolution of marriage. 17-DS-0353 - Sean T. Brooks, South Vienna, and Jennifer L. Brooks, South Vienna, petition for dissolution of marriage. 17-DS-0354 - Amy J. May, 2690 Cleve Ave., and William D. May, 2440 Red Coach Dr., petition...
Man indicted on felony charge after violent argument over biscuits
Man indicted on felony charge after violent argument over biscuits

An Alabama man has been indicted on a felony domestic violence charge for a September 2016 argument over biscuits that turned violent. Billy George Phillips II, 33, of Hartselle, was arrested Thursday on a charge of domestic violence by strangulation or suffocation, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office reported. In Alabama, that charge is...
More Stories