NEW ATHENS, Ill. – Investigators believe three men interrupted a burglary in progress at a home in rural St. Clair County when they arrived Thursday morning. One of them died and two of them are hurt after a shooting.

The victim found dead at the scene has been identified as Austin M. Evans-Blakey, 25, of Lenzburg, Illinois. He worked as a handyman for the homeowner.

Police responded to the 9300 block of Golden Rule Mine Road at around 11:30 am Thursday for a report of a shooting. They found the victims with gunshot wounds outside of a home. The identities of the victims injured in the shooting have not been released at this time, though they range from 25 to 50 years old.

One of the victims has critical injuries. He was air-lifted to a hospital in St. Louis. The other man’s injuries were not as severe and he was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Authorities say a “vehicle of interest” left the scene shortly after shots were fired. It is described as a blue or grey Chevrolet Lumina with a yellow light on top.

Capt. Bruce Fleshren, of the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, said the motive in the burglary or shooting is unknown at this time. He said confrontations between homeowners and burglars are not common in the county, particularly during daytime hours.

“This is unusual. I’ve been around a long time. Normally burglars run away,” Fleshren said during a Thursday press conference. “This is a rural remote area, so they felt safe I guess during the day. A confrontation directly between homeowners and criminals is pretty rare. Unfortunately, the subject was armed and opened fire for whatever reason.  We hope to get to the bottom of what this is about.”

Fleshman said law enforcement is still processing the scene for evidence. He said it appears the victims were unarmed before they were shot. It’s unclear if the shooting was part of a random or targeted attack.

The Major Case Squad has been activated to investigate this shooting. Eleven other local law enforcement agencies are also assisting with the investigation.