Kavion Poplous, a Freshman, Id’d as Suspect in Western Illinois University Shooting

Kavion Poplous

Twitter/Kavion Poplous Kavion Poplous pictured on his Twitter page.

Kavion Poplous is a Western Illinois University freshman who is accused of shooting his roommate on the night of September 15. The incident was described as “isolated.” Poplous was arrested on September 16 after turning himself in to police in Chicago, which is about 4 hours north of the college’s Macomb campus, the Chicago Tribune reports.

According to a news release from the school, a shooting was reported at the Thompson Hall residence hall building on the school’s Macomb campus at 10:38 p.m. The suspect and victim, an unidentified male student, are both residents of Thompson Hall. At the time of the shooting, a fire alarm was pulled in the building and it was evacuated. The suspect, named as Poplous, 18, fled the scene. The release said Poplous was “considered armed and dangerous.”

As a result of the shooting, all classes at Western Illinois University were suspended on September 16. The press release added, “All buildings, including residence halls, will be locked.” Poplous was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and was armed with a black pistol. Scanner traffic indicated that Poplous could be driving a black Nissan Altima. Poplous is a law enforcement and justice administration major, the Tribune reports. According to police, Poplous is charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery and aggravated discharge of a firearm.

The Victim’s Condition Has Not Been Released


WEEK reported that the victim was taken to McDonough District Hospital in Macomb and then transferred to another hospital. The outlet reported the victim’s condition has not been released.

While the victim has not been named, a WIU spokesperson said he was Poplous’ roommate in the dorm, WGEM reported. According to the Tribune, university officials said the victim underwent surgery the morning after the shooting and was out of the procedure, but his condition was not known.

“We’re waiting on updates from the family,” Derek Watts, the interim director of public safety at Western Illinois, said at a press conference, according to the Tribune.

Western Illinois University maintains a weapons-free campus, a message on the college’s website reads. Only those “exempted by federal or state law or University regulation” to carry a firearm may do so on campus. The policy extends to students, employees and “individuals visiting or conducting business on WIU.” The punishment for a student found to have carried a firearm onto the school’s campus can be “up to and including expulsion from WIU.”

“I want to thank the swift work of our Office of Public Safety and other law enforcement personnel and first responders for the assistance they provided,” Western Illinois Interim President Martin Abraham said in a statement after Poplous turned himself in. “I’d also like to thank law enforcement, as well as our student services staff and so many others, who worked quickly to ensure our students’ safety. Our thoughts are with our student who remains hospitalized, and we pray for a speedy recovery.”

According to a statement from the university, “While the suspect has been taken into custody, the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses will remain closed today (Wednesday, Sept. 16). The University will resume its regular operations, including classes, Thursday, Sept. 17. Campus buildings will remain locked through the end of today (Sept. 16), and all campus residence halls will remain locked through the weekend to ensure residents’ privacy.”

Poplous Describes Himself as ‘Very Down to Earth’ & Says He Tries His ‘Hardest to Be Understanding’

Kavion Poplous Twitter

Twitter/Kavion Poplous

According to his LinkedIn page, Poplous is a native of Chicago and attended Wendell Phillips Academy High School in Chicago. Poplous graduated from high school in 2020. Poplous wrote on his page, “I’m from ‘Englewood’ that’s the south side of Chicago and I just want to have an impact on my youth to show them rapping and playing ball is not the only way to it out the hood.” Poplous said that in high school he was active in the track and poetry societies.

Kavion Phillips shooting

Twitter/Kavion Poplous

On his LinkedIn profile, Poplous said that he is a “very down to earth” and that he tries his “hardest to be understanding.” Poplous described his first “real job” as being a barista at a Starbucks where he “worked towards [his] future I gave it my all and that’s something special about me that my priorities is my number one thing.” Poplous said he will “handle anything” that will help him in the future. Poplous gave his skills as critical thinking, strategy and leadership.

Poplous launched his own podcast in July 2020. On the most recent episode, Poplous talked about the effects that COVID-19 was having on his education.

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