Metro-East News

Southern Illinois officer not charged after shooting, killing chainsaw-wielding man

An investigation into an officer-involved shooting of a chainsaw-wielding man in Monroe County was concluded with no charges filed.

Officers responded to a domestic dispute call in Maeystown and encountered 53-year-old Edwin Esker, who was wielding a running chainsaw and trying to get into his ex-wife's home.

Two deputies approached the home and warned Esker to drop the chainsaw, but he did not comply, according to a news release from police. Esker began to approach the deputies in an “aggressive manner,” and a deputy fired three rounds from his gun, striking Esker three times.

"It's an unfortunate matter, it's something you don't want to have to do, but it's something that law enforcement is involved in on rare occasion," Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing said. "I know it's in the lime light because of police shootings, but this one was pretty cut and dry. It just took awhile for everything to filter through."

Rohlfing added Monroe County had not had a documented officer-involved shooting in 200 years.

"Illinois State Police conducted an independent investigation," Rohlfing said. "We're completely transparent with the public and our residents."

“I have fully reviewed the thorough investigation performed by the Illinois State Police and have concluded that the use of deadly force… was fully lawful, reasonable and justified,” Monroe County State’s Attorney Chris Hitzemann stated in a Jan. 26 email to parties involved in the investigation. The email was obtained by the Republic-Times through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Kaley Johnson: 618-239-2526, @KaleyJohnson6