Two men were arrested early Saturday following a traffic stop in Swansea. Police reported finding a loaded gun in a vehicle and one man allegedly told officers they would “have to shoot” him before taking him to jail.
According to a Swansea Police Department news release, Officer Dan Voelker saw a maroon Chevrolet Silverado driving erratically on Illinois 161 as it approached North Illinois Street around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. Police said the vehicle crossed several lanes of traffic in a dangerous manner, failed to use a turn signal and sped away at a high rate of speed.
Voelker stopped the driver and found that the driver of the vehicle, Larry Cotton, 39, of Washington Park, was driving on a revoked license.
Voelker said all three people in the vehicle were intoxicated. A passenger in the front seat, DeAngelo A. Cotton, 31, of Swansea, had a St. Clair County arrest warrant. The third person was not charged.
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Voelker performed a field sobriety test on Larry Cotton and administered a portable breath test. Cotton was placed into custody on charges of driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license.
When Voelker told DeAngelo Cotton that he was being taken into custody for having an outstanding arrest warrant, Cotton became extremely agitated, according to police. Police said DeAngelo Cotton said officers would “have to shoot” him before taking him to jail. Officers eventually got DeAngelo Cotton to calm down and he was taken into custody without incident.
While searching the vehicle, a loaded .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol was located underneath the driver’s seat. A live round was “stove-piped” in the extractor and another live round was in the chamber. Nine live rounds were in the pistol. Three different containers of open alcohol were also located.
The third person in the vehicle was given a courtesy ride. Both Cottons were transported to the county jail.
“Three drunks, dangerous driving, pistol possibly being loaded during traffic stop, convicted felon, revoked license, and person with a warrant yells ‘shoot me’ to the police,” Swansea Police Chief Steve Johnson said in a news release. “Two arrests made by police officers with no violence. Officers saving lives by getting drunks off the street. Professional communication and deescalation followed by law enforcement. I bet this traffic stop doesn’t make the national news, but it should.”
St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly charged Larry Cotton with a felony felon in possession of a firearm charge and three misdemeanor charges, including two DUI charges. Cotton’s bail was set at $100,000. He is being held in the St. Clair County Jail.