‘He’s not a monster’: Family in Chicago defends freshman accused in Western Illinois campus shooting

The charges against a college freshman accused of shooting another student at Western Illinois University are out of line with his character, a family spokesman said Thursday.

Kavion Poplous is a “godly child” and “he’s not a monster,” family spokesman Darryl Smith said Thursday.

Smith has been talking with Poplous’ mother since the shooting late Tuesday, which university officials said stemmed from a “roommate dispute.”

Poplous, 18, of Englewood, is charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery and aggravated discharge of a firearm in McDonough County.

Smith said the Poplous family is “tightknit” and has retained an attorney for Poplous’ extradition hearing in Cook County.

The shooting happened about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Thompson Hall dorm on Western Illinois University’s main campus in Macomb, a town about 70 miles west of Peoria.

The 18-year-old shooting victim underwent surgery for a gunshot wound.


Poplous turned himself in to Chicago police Wednesday afternoon. He came back to Chicago “because he was scared,” Smith said.

“He came home and turned himself in — which takes courage,” Smith said.

MORE: Western Illinois University student wanted for shooting roommate taken into custody

Poplous’ LinkedIn page said he’s worked at Starbucks part time and graduated from Wendell Phillips Academy High School. He is studying business, marketing and management.

Smith said Poplous’ mother is very concerned about the outcome of the case.

“We’re waiting on the truth to come out,” Smith said.