Neighbors describe mayhem during shooting in Belleville
Officers shot a gun-wielding man around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, about 90 minutes after police say he first fired at them.
Donald Martin, 39, fired at officers several times and made suicidal comments before a police tactical unit officer shot him, Belleville Police Master Sgt. Todd Keilbach said. Martin was taken to a local hospital and was pronounced dead at 1:13 p.m. from multiple gunshot wounds, said St. Clair County Coroner Calvin Dye Sr.
Keilbach said Martin first fired what appeared to be a shotgun in the direction of officers and fled into the house at 623 S. 20th St., where he continued shooting. Members of the local Special Response Team, which had been called to the home, also took fire.
“Patrol officers and SRT team members returned fire,” Keilbach said. “The subject was struck and found unresponsive.”
Keilbach said Illinois State Police officers were taking over the investigation into the officer-involved shooting. State police will provide updates.
Neighbor Paula Daley said Martin started throwing bottle rockets into her yard shortly before the shooting. Daley said she was frightened by his behavior and took her dogs into the house.
A few moments later, she heard shots being fired.
“Then next thing you know, all the squad cars came down,” Daley said. “He was not right, and scary.”
Daley said she heard Martin yelling at police during the standoff.
He was not right, and scary.”
Neighbor Paula Daley
Public records indicate Martin lives at the house where the shooting took place. He pleaded guilty in 2005 to one count of domestic battery in St. Clair County. In 2004, a judge dismissed four domestic battery charges filed against him. There is little else in his record.
Daley said Martin lived in the house almost his entire life and was somewhat “troubled.” Several neighbors said his wife left him and moved out of state sometime last year after an incident.
“Donny has been troubled for a long time. He’s been walking up and down the alleys at night,” Daley said.
Daley said recently her little dog had been barking in the middle of the night, as if someone were near her house.
Daley’s neighbor and brother, Jeff Brown, lives two houses down. He said his new camper had several bullet holes on one side after the standoff. The back window was shot out.
“It’s been a little frightening for us,” Daley said.
Another neighbor, Barbara Ferguson, lives across the street from Martin’s house. She said when she first came outside, police told her to go back inside her house immediately.
“I’m so upset, I can hardly talk. My heart is beating so fast,” Ferguson said.