Pretrial release denied for TJ Maxx shooter; attorney claims defendant was attacked in parking lot, acted in self-defense

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QUINCY — A Quincy man charged with four felonies in connection with a shooting Saturday afternoon in the TJ Maxx parking lot at the Prairie Crossing Shopping Center will remain in the Adams County Jail.

However, the man’s attorney said his client was acting in self-defense.

Alan C. Pacheco, 21, appeared in Adams County Circuit Court Tuesday afternoon with attorney Ryan Schuenke before Judge Scott Larson, who ruled the state had “satisfied its burden” and granted the motion to detain Pacheco in the Adams County Jail.

According to documents filed in Adams County Circuit Court, Pacheco has been charged with:

  • Two counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm, a Class 1 felony punishable for between five and 15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, for discharging a firearm at Terrance D. Horton and Islam D. Woodson; 
  • One count of aggravated battery with a firearm, a Class X felony punishable for between six and 30 years in prison, for discharging a firearm and causing injury to Horton.
  • One count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, a Class 4 felony punishable for between one and three years in prison, for knowingly possessing a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield 9mm handgun when he was not on his land, his home or his fixed place of business.

Officers from the Quincy Police Department, Adams County Sheriff’s Department and the Illinois State Police were dispatched at 2:28 p.m. Saturday, July 6, to 6210 Broadway to a shooting incident in the parking lot in front of TJ Maxx. Horton, 22, was found on the ground with apparent gunshot wounds. Pacheco was taken into custody a short time later after returning to the scene.

Explaining why his client should not be detained and instead placed on house arrest, Schuenke said Pacheco is a student at John Wood Community College and works from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily for a local electrical contractor. He said Pacheco is a valid FOID card holder, and the only crime he has committed is a traffic ticket.

“He had a weapon in his vehicle, which he is legally allowed to do,” Schuenke said. “Obviously Mr. Pacheco had to get (the weapon) out to use it for self-defense, and our position is based on Mr. Horton and Mr. Woodson attacking him and his significant other in their vehicle after they had boxed them in and prevented them from backing up and leaving the (parking lot).

“I believe the evidence will show that Mr. Horton and Mr. Woodson created the situation and created the events that transpired after they engaged Mr. Pacheco in his vehicle.”

Schuenke said Pacheco regretted what happened in terms of shots being fired.

“In the commotion of what happened, in the adrenaline and everything going on when shots were fired, he tried to protect himself and a significant other,” Schuenke said. “They get in the car, they leave, and he returned voluntarily to the scene to make a police report to cooperate with law enforcement and in no way (was he) trying to run away.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Todd Eyler said he couldn’t remember a recent case during which the community had been put in danger like this one.

 “This took place in broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon and in a shopping area,” he said. “We had a public place where there were multiple individuals who were present when the shots were fired. Not only were Terrence Horton and Islam Woodson specifically at risk, but anybody who was there on that given Saturday who was simply doing nothing but shopping, or even just walking, even if they had no specific incentive, they were put in harm’s way.”

Alan Pacheco | Pool photo by David Adam, Muddy River News

Eyler said he had video evidence showing Pacheco following one of the victims, who ran inside a nearby Petco store. 

“You see him holding the gun that further puts anybody in that store or in that area in danger,” Eyler said, “You had TJ Maxx go on lockdown and lock their doors. There were people inside that store. There were people inside of every store there. There were people in their cars. There’s a video that exists of individuals who took a video as they pulled up and were getting out of their car as this very thing happened. 

“To say that other individuals, besides the two specific ones who are named, were in danger and put at risk is an understatement.”

Eyler credited Pacheco for coming back to the scene of the shooting.

“The defendant … talked to law enforcement and — my words here — admitted to doing what had just happened,” Eyler said. “So when we talk about having to prove that the proof is evident or the presumption great that the defendant committed the offense, we have that. We have it from his own words.”

Eyler said the police report on the incident said Pacheco told officers he fired in the direction of Woodson but intentionally shot at the ground to scare him. 

“By getting out of that car, walking around and firing in the direction (of Woodson), I don’t care if you shot at the ground or not — if that’s true — in the direction of an individual who is running away and going into a shopping store, that is problematic,” Eyler said. “The second he got out of that car and took further action, that alleged self-defense came to an end. But that’s for another day.”

Larson referred to People v. Gatewood, a 2023 case out of Cook County, in explaining his decision to deny pretrial release.

“Ultimately, the report indicated whether the defendant was legally justified and committing offenses is of no consequence to the state’s burden on the elements at issue,” he said. “Mr. Pacheco, as has been argued by his attorney, was acting in some type of self-defense mode, but that soon changed. Then he became the pursuer in a public shopping area. The court can consider that, in and of itself, is a dangerous situation.”

Pacheco’s next appearance in court is scheduled for July 16.

Alan Pacheco, charged with four felonies in connection with a July 6 shooting in the TJ Maxx parking lot, looks into the gallery in an Adams County courtroom Tuesday afternoon. At left is bailiff Donnie Hammer. Bailiff John Ervin, center, mans the door. | Pool photo by David Adam, Muddy River News

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