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Crime & Courts

2 charged with murder in DeKalb shooting

Police: Shooter captured in Elburn after car chase

DeKALB – Two men are accused of first-degree murder after an attempt to rob a drug dealer ended with a fatal shooting, DeKalb police said.

Police were called to 817 Pleasant St. around 10 p.m. Tuesday. They arrived to find a resident of the house, Mathew Clark, 23, shot in the chest. Clark, who lived in DeKalb but was originally from Bloomingdale, was taken to Kishwaukee Hospital, where he was pronounced dead around 11:35 p.m. 

Police arrested Trevor D. Motsinger, 25, of the 100 block of Home Drive in DeKalb, who they say arranged the drug deal knowing that the plan was to rob Clark.

The alleged trigger man, Christopher J. Gerken, 25, of the 200 block of North Hickory Street in Cortland, was arrested Wednesday morning after leading police on a chase from DeKalb all the way to routes 38 and 47 in Elburn, according to a police news release.

Both Gerken and Motsinger are charged with first-degree murder. Motsinger also is charged with obstruction of justice and unlawful possession of controlled substances, according to court records.

Police aren’t yet sure what drugs Clark was supposed to be selling Gerken, but they did find narcotics in the house, DeKalb Deputy Police Chief John Petragallo said. 

“The investigation is still ongoing,” he said. “But what we suspect is cocaine.” 

Police said Gerken was upset with Clark because of a previous drug sale and came to their meeting Tuesday armed with a handgun. He confronted Clark, a struggle ensued, and then he fatally shot Clark in the chest, police said.

There are no other suspects in Clark’s killing, Petragallo said.

“The two that are in custody are the only two involved with the homicide that we know of right now,” Petragallo said. “A separate investigation is ongoing regarding the drugs.”

Gerken was arrested Wednesday morning after a police chase that went through multiple jurisdictions. A DeKalb police officer spotted Gerken driving north on Peace Road from Interstate 88 about 6:50 a.m. and tried to stop him. 

Gerken refused to stop and police chased him east on Route 38 into Kane County. Gerken finally stopped his vehicle at Route 38 and Route 47 in Elburn and was surrounded about 7 a.m. 

The Kane County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Charles Police Department and the Elburn Police Department assisted capturing Gerken. 

Motsinger and Gerken both had previous records involving drugs, documents show. 

In 2013, Motsinger was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia – a Raiders helmet smoking pipe. In 2012 he was charged with possession of marijuana and knowingly causing damage to property. 

In 2014, Gerken was charged with possession of marijuana between 0.5 and 10 grams. In 2012, he was charged with production of marijuana. 

Residents in the neighborhood were startled by the late-night disturbance and ensuing police presence.

Neighbor Connie Appledorn said she was inside her house cooking Tuesday night when she heard a gunshot. 

“I thought my cat had knocked something over in the house,” she said. “But then I saw all the [police] lights and was like, ‘What the heck?’ ” 

Appledorn said she was watching her daughter and some neighborhood kids at the time of the shooting, and tried to keep them away from the windows so they couldn’t see what was happening. 

Appledorn has lived in the neighborhood for more than 10 years and said she had never experienced anything like this before. 

“It was pretty scary,” she said. 

Mayor John Rey said that isolated incidents should not make people think DeKalb is unsafe. 

“We are making headway on major crime incidents like these,” he said. “Obviously, I am not sure eliminating it totally is a reasonable expectation, but I am pleased that we are making headway in reducing incidents of this type of crime.” 

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