Candles and flowers were placed at a home on West Liberty Street in memory of a person who was found dead inside on Wednesday. That person has not been officially identified by investigators. JENNA LAWSON/STAFF

Suspect in fatal Springfield shooting was well known to city officials

A Springfield man was named a suspect in the shooting that preceded a house fire on West Liberty Street.

A police report names Raymond Upshaw, 70, as the suspect.

The report says officers found a 20-year-old woman on West Euclid Avenue with an injury to her right ear and “doused in fuel.”

In the report, she said Upshaw poured fuel on her and took several shots at her with a handgun. The woman told police she and Upshaw share the house where the attack happened in the 300 block of West Liberty Street.

That woman was taken to Springfield Regional Medical Center and has since been released. It’s not clear what the relationship is between the woman and Upshaw.

GALLERY: Liberty Street Fatal Fire and Shooting

At the time of the reported shooting, fire crews were called out for a fire at the same home where the woman said the shooting happened.

Springfield Fire Rescue Division Assistant Chief Matt Smith said crews found a person’s body and liquid in the downstairs room where the body was found, although they didn’t believe that the liquid was gasoline. They collected clothing samples from the body and the woman to send for testing.

The coroner’s office said they have a presumptive identification of the person killed, however cannot release the name until official identification is made.

Upshaw’s address on the police report was listed as the address were the fire broke out.

Coroner’s investigators will use dental or DNA records to formally identify the person. Dental records can take up to two weeks, and DNA can take up to two months.

City officials said Upshaw is well-known because of his behavior at Springfield City Commission meetings.

“He’s been a regular for a long time,” Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland said. “He was a person who felt that the world was sort of against him in a lot of ways, including the City.”

EARLIER REPORTING: Springfield woman doused in gas, shot on West Liberty Street

Copeland said what Upshaw would say at commission meetings would be full of anger, and wasn’t always coherent.

“He was always talking about other issues and a sense that the police and other people weren’t doing their job well,” Copeland said.

Copeland said he was very sad to hear about what happened on West Liberty Street, but he wasn’t necessarily surprised. He said he had a good personal relationship with Upshaw, but it was clear Upshaw was dealing with a lot of issues.

Copeland said he hadn’t seen Upshaw at recent meetings, which was very unusual. The last meeting he attended on record was Oct. 9.

“[In general] he seemed unhappy and he seemed irrational a lot and he worried me just in terms of what might happen to him,” Copeland said.

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