20, No. 13, Feb. 1, 2001
UI police officer shooting
ruled accidental by ccoroner's jury
The New Year's Eve
shooting death of a UI police officer was ruled accidental Jan. 25 by
a Champaign County coroner's jury.
The officer, Collin Jay Harmon, 29, of Savoy, was pronounced dead at
12:09 a.m. Jan. 1 at Carle Foundation Hospital as the result of a gunshot
wound to the head.
Harmon shot himself with another UI officer's gun around 11:30 p.m.
that evening during a small party at that officerÕs home, according
to Champaign police. A third UI officer and three women also were at
the party and witnessed the shooting. Based on interviews with the five
witnesses, investigators determined that the shooting did not appear
to have been intentional.
Harmon had been at the party only about 15 minutes when the shooting
occurred, and according to police had been socializing and drinking
beforehand. Coroner Roger Swaney reported Harmon's blood alcohol level
as being at 0.09 percent, just over the 0.08 percent legal limit for
driving in Illinois.
UI Police Chief O.J. Clark said Jan. 25 that his department was conducting
an internal investigation.