Peoria man says fatal shooting was self defense

By WEEK Producer

October 16, 2013 Updated Oct 16, 2013 at 6:59 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- A Peoria man is in jail after being involved in what the Peoria County State's Attorney calls "mutual combat".

However, the accused man's attorney said he acted properly after being shot at himself.

On Tuesday, police arrested and charged Kent Irby Jr., 25, in the shooting death of Carnell Ashford, 31.

Ashford was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds in an alley in the 1400 block of NE Perry Avenue on Friday morning. This was after police received a report of multiple shots fired late Thursday evening.

Peoria County State's Attorney Jerry Brady said Ashford and Irby were involved in a mutual combat with shots being fired back and forth. However, Irby's attorney, Joseph Borsberry, said his client was acting in self defense.

He said Irby lawfully possessed a valid Illinois Firearms Owner ID (FOID) Card along with his pistol, which was unloaded and stored in a closed case in his vehicle prior to the incident.

"When someone is firing a gun at you or others, you have a right and you could say even a moral obligation to protect yourself,” said Borsberry. “You don't have to run away, and you don't have to sit their and watch other people be shot and killed. What he did was reasonable and lawful. He was not the aggressor. It wasn't a mutual combat situation."

Borsberry added that Irby had been a victim of a shooting in the past which may have led him to acquire a FOID card.

He also indicated that Irby was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the incident and came forward to police voluntarily.

At this time, it is unclear if the bullets that killed Ashford came from Irby's gun because another shooter was said to be involved. That is currently under investigation.

Irby faces a variety of charges including Second Degree Murder and felony Mob Action.

He is being held in the Peoria County Jail on a $300,000 bond. A preliminary court date is set for November 14.