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Suspects connected to downtown murder of college student arrested, charged

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BELLEVILLE, IL (KPLR) - Prosecutors in St. Clair County say two men arrested in connection with a police chase there are also suspects in a high profile downtown St. Louis murder. Bobby Christman, 19, a south St. Louis County resident and recent graduate of De Smet High School was shot and killed early in the morning of January 11th.

Police in St. Louis aren’t commenting on the case, because no charges have been filed in Christman’s murder, but officials in Illinois say it’s what happened the night after the young man was killed that led them to two suspects.

According to the St. Clair County State’s Attorney, there was a chase that night of two men they believed were involved in the Christman killing. It led officers to the corner of 50th and Caseyville Avenue in Washington Park where one neighbor, who asked not to be identified, described a chaotic scene.

“The first thing I heard was two gunshots,” she said. “Then after a while I see the police come up and the lights was on everywhere. I mean police from every department, St. Louis, Washington Park, East St. Louis and everywhere.”

A day later, on Monday January 13th, police in St. Clair County arrested Aza Thompson, 18 with a gun on the campus of East St. Louis High School. He would face charges for that, as well as drug, theft, and weapons charges tied to the chase. Tony Ross, 19, was arrested this past weekend. He’s accused of attempted murder for firing at the officers the night of the chase.

In a news release sent out Monday night, State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly said the chase and the arrests were tied to the murder of Bobby Christman.

Christman was killed early on the morning of January 11th in what police say appeared to be a robbery attempt. His girlfriend and brother were both in the car with him when he was killed.

Police in St. Louis had no comment on the case, saying they are still involved in a very active investigation into the teen’s killing.

As for that witness back in Washington Park, she says she’s just glad two apparently dangerous men are off the street.

“I was happy,” she said. “I was happy they caught them, because that was wrong.”

Christman's family members said they are pleased police are making progress in the case.  Even if someone is charged for the killing it won't take away the grief that family and friends share.

Mike Kellett was a friend of Bobby Christman.  Kellett said, "He definitely won't be forgotten I speak for everyone when I say I think about him every day and all the good memories we had together, and we'll cherish those forever."