Bedford County Courthouse

Bedford County Courthouse on Thursday, May 6, 2021.

A Wisconsin civil rights activist wanted in connection with a Bedford County shooting incident last August was taken into custody on Wednesday in Illinois following a standoff with police, authorities said.

Orsino Thurman, 38, of Milwaukee, appeared in court on Thursday in DeWitt County, Illinois, and is being held there on $75,000 bond.

Bedford County District Attorney Lesley Childers-Potts said Thurman had been involved in a high-speed chase and had an infant with him in the car.

Thurman is expected to be extradited to Bedford County to face criminal charges. He is accused of exchanging gunfire with a Schellsburg man during a Black Lives Matter march along rural U.S. Route 30 on Aug. 24, 2020.

According to a report by central Illinois station WAND-TV, the incident in Illinois happened as police in the small city of Clinton were investigating a report of domestic battery at a motel. Thurman, who reportedly drove away from the motel’s parking lot as police talked to a woman, was considered armed and had a baby with him.

Thurman initially stopped for police, but then drove off as Clinton police tried to question him, a police report said.

The chase ended in adjacent Macon County, where Thurman surrendered the child after the car’s tires were punctured by stop sticks and SWAT and crisis negotiators became involved, the report said.

State police in Bedford had been searching for Thurman since he was charged on May 7 with exchanging shots with Terry Myers, 51, of Schellsburg. Thurman was wounded in the exchange.

Troopers said that Thurman was part of a group of 30 activists who were traveling on foot and in vehicles from Wisconsin to Washington, D.C., for the March to Washington 2020 gathering on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech.

A caravan of about 12 vehicles stopped on the Myers’ property along U.S. Route 30 at 10:30 p.m., when Myers accused them of trespassing.

Thurman allegedly fired a pistol at Terry Myers and his father, Elmer Myers, after Terry Myers fired two warning shots from a 12-gauge shotgun, according to Pennsylvania State Police. Myers then fired a third time, hitting Thurman with birdshot in the face and body.

Thurman was treated at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, and then released.

Troopers said they found a pistol at the scene that carried Thurman’s DNA.

Thurman is charged with aggravated assault and illegally possessing a firearm. Both are felonies. He also is charged with two counts each of simple assault and reckless endangerment, which are misdemeanors, and two summary charges.

Fellow activists have said that Thurman was providing security as they traveled to Washington. Thurman is a convicted felon and cannot legally possess a firearm, court records show.

Terry Myers faces charges of harassment and reckless endangerment. He was ordered to stand trial following a preliminary hearing on June 19 before District Judge H. Cyril Bingham, of Bedford. The judge dismissed a felony charge of aggravated assault and misdemeanor charges of simple assault against Myers during that hearing.

Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5061. Follow him on Twitter @PatBuchnowskiTD.

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