Metro-East News

State Police investigating sheriff’s deputy-involved shooting

Video shows officer-involved shooting in East St. Louis

Demetrius Ward was shot by an unnamed St. Clair County Sheriff's deputy on Jan. 19 in East St. Louis. This video was captured by an onlooker.
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Demetrius Ward was shot by an unnamed St. Clair County Sheriff's deputy on Jan. 19 in East St. Louis. This video was captured by an onlooker.

An East St. Louis man was shot by a St. Clair County sheriff’s deputy early Saturday, following what State Police said was an attempted traffic stop. The shooting occurred at 18th Street and Ridge Avenue.

“At approximately midnight on Jan. 19, 2019, a St. Clair County deputy attempted to stop a vehicle near 27th and Missouri Avenue for a traffic violation,” Illinois State Police Sgt. Jerri Hochmuth said. “A short pursuit ensued. During the pursuit, the tire on the subject’s vehicle was damaged resulting in the vehicle stopping a few blocks away near Ridge Avenue and 18th Street.”

The driver, a 42-year-old man, was alone in the car.

Authorities did not immediately release the identities of the East St. Louis man and the deputy.

In a video posted on a private page on Facebook, the deputy is seen yelling, “Get out of the car, and put your hands up!”

In the video, the man exits the vehicle. The deputy shouts for the man to show his hands and then to back up. The man then begins to run. He stops and then appears to reach down for something. The deputy yells “stop right there!” and then fires multiple shots.

In a news release, the sheriff’s office said it is aware of the video, but would not comment on it.

St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson said the deputy was not wearing a body camera, and the squad car does not have a dashboard camera in it.

The sheriff’s office said the man who was shot was taken to a St. Louis hospital, but his condition is not known.

The Sheriff’s Department asked the State Police to handle the investigation, Hochmuth said.

The Illinois State Police could not be reached for comment on Sunday afternoon.

When asked if the public had a right to know the name of the deputy involved, Sheriff Watson said he could not release the name of the deputy because he was bound by a state law that puts officer-involved investigations in the hands of the state police.

The deputy has worked as a police officer for seven years, including two years with the Sheriff’s Department. He is on administrative leave pending the completion of the investigation.

Carolyn P. Smith has worked for the Belleville News-Democrat for 18 years and currently covers breaking news in the Metro-East. She graduated from the Journalism School at the University of Missouri at Columbia and says news is in her DNA.
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