Illinois construction worker Nicholas Sheley spent years fighting inner demons associated with drugs and anger, family and acquaintances told the Chicago Tribune. He could be quiet and kind and had made strides to seek spiritual counseling at a church. As authorities pieced together a string of violent crimes in the past week, the signs pointed to the 28-year-old laborer and suggested that he had lost his struggle. “He has a violent history,” Illinois State Police Lt. Jim Winters said. “Was there a straw that broke the camel’s back? Was there something that set this guy off? We don’t know.”
An intense manhunt for the “armed and dangerous” suspect in a murderous rampage that claimed eight lives across Illinois and into Missouri ended last night when Sheley stepped outside a bar to smoke and was taken into custody by police in the southwest Illinois town of Granite City. Before he was suspected in the killing spree, he spent a short prison stint in Illinois in 1999 for a drug offense and possession of a firearm. He was on parole when he committed a second felony, aggravated robbery, which sent him to prison from 2000 to 2003.