Neighbor recalls shootout between Pendleton, police Sunday

The search for Dracy “Clint” Pendleton is over, but investigators are still working to uncover more details about his death.

Pendleton is accused of shooting a Mahomet, Illinois, police officer, stealing a truck and leading police on a manhunt inside Shawnee National Forest. Pendleton was shot and killed Sunday morning in an abandoned home about half a mile from Sulphur Springs Church in Pope County, Illinois, after shooting and injuring a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent.

One man living down the street from where the shootout took place says the search didn’t seem real until the sounds of flash bombs and gunshots filled the air.

For the first time in days, Rodney Blanchard is able to leave his home. Police had blocked him in, refusing to let others in or him out as they searched the forest near his home for Dracy “Clint” Pendleton.

"The road block was right there. And there was no going or coming from that intersection," Blanchard said, pointing to the area down the road to the house where the shootout happened.

He says the search didn’t seem real until just after 1 a.m. Sunday morning.

"We heard a loud explosion, which I was awakened by and thought it was a shot," Blanchard said.

Even for those living a mile or two from where everything was happening, they say they could hear the gunfire loud and clear.

"It was so bad it sent the local wildlife scurrying," Blanchard said.

Blanchard says it stayed quiet for a few hours and he went back to sleep. But then, early in the morning a flurry of gunshots erupted at a neighboring house. He says it was so close, his home and others near it were shaking.

"There was a pause. And then there were five loud shots and it was over,” he said.

He said he’s glad the search is finally over so things can settle down in the quiet area of the Shawnee National Forest. But with a son the same age as Pendleton, Blanchard says he wonders why this happened and whether police and Pendleton could have ended this peacefully instead.

The Illinois State Police and the FBI say they will not be releasing any more information on Pendleton’s death and the investigation for now.

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