Cody Garza (left) and Casey Mason (Right)
August 3, 2015
DANVILLE — A off-duty Illinois state trooper was charged in Vermilion County Circuit Court with a felony Monday stemming from a face-off with a Danville resident during the weekend.
Illinois State Trooper Cody Garza, 28, of Braidwood, appeared for court proceedings via video feed Monday afternoon on a felony charge of reckless discharge of a firearm and a misdemeanor charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Danville police officers arrested Garza after responding to a report of a person with a weapon and shots fired around 4 a.m. Sunday at Steak n’ Shake, 408 S. Gilbert St.
Danville Director of Public Safety Larry Thomason, in a release, indicated Garza told police he was outside the restaurant when he got into an argument with a man, later identified as Casey Mason, 27, of Danville.
The argument turned physical, Thomason said, and Garza told city police officers that Mason disarmed him. Several witnesses were interviewed with regard o the incident, according to Thomason.
A formal charge of misdemeanor battery was filed by the Vermilion County State’s Attorney’s Office on Monday against Mason. As a misdemeanor charge, he did not appear in court for arraignment Monday.
Mason was taken into custody a little after 4 a.m. Sunday after he arrived at the Public Safety Building and called in to police, saying he was in possession of the weapon. He was arrested without problem.
Mason initially was arrested by police for aggravated battery to an officer and disarming an officer, Thomason indicated. Garza initially was arrested for reckless discharge of a firearm.
Garza’s job status as a state trooper was not immediately available from the Illinois State Police. In a statement issued Monday, Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz said state troopers must be held accountable for their actions on and off duty.
“Allegations of unlawful conduct will be investigated and, if found to be true, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” the statement read.
According to court records, Garza’s bond was set at $5,000 or 10 percent on Monday. Bond was posted and he was released from the Public Safety Building on Monday.
A preliminary hearing for Garza is scheduled for Aug. 27, according to court records.
A Class 4 felony is punishable by up to three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections or probation. The misdemeanors against Mason and Garza — both Class A charges — are punishable by probation or up to a year of in state prison
UPDATE: State trooper charged with felony after Steak N’ Shake altercation