Crime

Man Fatally Shot While Celebrating Release From Prison

| by Brendan Kelly

An Illinois man was fatally shot April 14 while celebrating his release from prison.

According to WMAQ, Nathan A. Hofkamp, 29, was celebrating with his family after he had been released from prison on parole when "a disturbance broke out" inside of a Minooka home.

A statement from the Will County Sheriff's Office says that James F. Hess, a "live-in acquaintance" of Hofkamp's mother, became upset and shot the 29-year-old in the chest.

"The victim had just been released from prison and was celebrating with family members inside the residence when a distrubance broke out," a press release from the Will County Sheriff's Department reads, according to the Joliet Patch. "Apparently someone inside the residence became upset and fired a shot striking the victim in the chest."

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Hofkamp was rushed to Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, where doctors pronounced him dead, the Will County Coroner's Office reports.

Hess has been charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm. He is currently being held at the Will County Adult Detention Facility, awaiting a bond hearing. Additional charges against Hess, 65, are pending by the State's Attorney's office.

The case is being investigated as a homicide, according to WMAQ, though the final cause of Hofkamp's death is pending an autopsy, as well as police and toxicological reports.

Hofkamp served a two-year sentence for theft and aggravated assault of a peace officer. He was released from the Vienna Correctional Center in Vienna, Illinois, on April 14, records from the Illinois Department of Corrections show. He previously served time for theft, burglary and drug possession, according to the Morris Herald-News.

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On April 14, Hofkamp posted on his Facebook page, writing simply, "Finally free," following his release from prison.

According to the Morris Herald-News, Hess was previously charged with battery in 2011. Will County court records show that he was granted court supervision for the charge. He was also granted court supervision in 2010 for a charge of property damage. He was also charged with domestic battery and interfering with the reporting of domestic violence in 2010, thought he charges were dropped.

Hess was living with Hofkamp's mother when the 29-year-old was released from prison.

According to the Joliet Patch, another Hofkamp, 23-year-old Kevin Hofkamp, who witnessed Nathan's shooting, was arrested and taken to the Will County Jail on a warrant from Champaign County and traffic warrants following Nathan's death. Kevin declined to reveal his relation to the victim.

Sources: WMAQJoliet PatchMorris Herald-News / Photo Credit: Joliet Patch

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